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Research Group: 'Convening citizen engagement: why mediation matters for audience participation in interactive broadcast shows'

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Babak Mohammadzadeh.

This paper makes two important contributions to our understanding of interactive broadcast media. First it provides empirical evidence that such shows are convened social spaces. It does this by introducing, and providing evidence of, the distinct role of the ‘mediation context’ as a determinant of audience participation. We use the ‘mediation context’ to refer to ways in which audiences are socialised into thinking about this space as one in which people like them may have a voice that counts. Analysing data from a household survey conducted in rural and urban constituencies in Kenya and Zambia in 2013, we find strong evidence that if audience members trust the presenter or know others who participate in these shows, all other things equal, the odds are much higher that they are likely to participate themselves. Secondly, the paper looks more closely at why the mediation context and the convened nature of interactive broadcast matters to whether and how these social spaces may constitute ‘publics,’ that involve active citizen engagement in public and political affairs. In so doing, the paper makes a distinctive contribution to theoretical understandings of how participatory digital media – specifically here, the convergence of broadcast media with new ICT – are shaping African democracy.

The University of Cambridge Centre of Governance and Human Rights Research Group is a forum for graduate students and early-career researchers from any department and disciplinary background researching issues of governance and human rights in the global, regional, and national contexts. This is an excellent opportunity to receive cross-disciplinary feedback, to produce a published CGHR Working Paper with editorial help, and to meet and network with student and academic researchers.

The CGHR Research Group meets every first Monday of the month from 1 to 2pm in the Alison Richard Building, Department of Politics and International Studies (7 West Road). Participants may bring their lunch, and tea and coffee will be provided after the seminar.

The aim is to facilitate an exchange between younger and more established researchers, offering a forum for the development of new and innovative ideas, constructive criticism and stimulating debate. Each month, one paper will be presented, and detailed feedback will be provided by a discussant (an established researcher, to be arranged by the Convenor) before opening up for a wider exchange. Presenters will be encouraged to incorporate feedback into a revised document, for possible publication as a CGHR Working Paper.

Call for Papers

We are looking to confirm presenters for coming terms. To present a paper or for more information on the research group, please contact the convenor, Babak Mohammadzadeh,

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