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Accepted Paper:

Community radio as a social media: An anthropological perspective in a participatory innovation project  


Petra Žišt (Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute)
Christopher Csikszentmihalyi (Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute)

Paper short abstract:

The paper presents a socio-technical innovation in fostering local community radio as a social media. A mix of analogous and digital technologies, their affordability and accessibility open up a new space for collaboration in the community, as well as between the people, researchers and engineers.

Paper long abstract:

Digital media has opened up a space to think critically about the transformation of mass media and people's relationships with it, as well as opened up new work opportunities for anthropologists (Peake 2018). This paper will present a community media project development that involves participation of anthropologists and social scientists at an interactive technologies institute in co-designing and supporting a local form of social media. This socio-technological innovation project combines analogous and digital technologies - radio as an old media and the Rootio software (a platform on the cloud that can be controlled on the website or on the phone) and hardware (an antenna made from irrigation tubes; low cost transmitter in a bucket, phone) - that enable an affordable and easy community radio station (without the need for a real studio). The paper will shed a light on this community radio vision in the context of recent theories in engaged media, applied and digital anthropology, design anthropology, STS studies, open source software and others (Bessire 2012, Pink and Abram 2015, Correia 2019). Public engagement initiative to harness digital media technologies and infrastructures for fostering access to information, inclusion, civic participation and media pluralism, communication and community deliberation in isolated, small and rural communities (or in an art festival urban community) is necessarily a collaborative and interdisciplinary work between engineers, social scientists, and communities. This collaboration and dialogue is based on ethnography and participatory design techniques and some instances of this work from Madeira and Cape Verde will be presented.

Panel P015
Engaged media anthropology in the digital age [Media Anthropology Network]