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How Community Media Activities Construct Community: Comparative Case Studies Based on the ‘Instrumental-Expressive Distinction’ Framework

Thu, July 14, 3:30 to 5:00pm, TBA


Community media as a community-based organization contribute to building social bonds and solidarity in that community media form communities’ identities by interacting with various community participants (Ban & Kim, 2016). White and his colleagues (2007) indicate “identity” can be the cause of network formation, or it can be the effect of the network. Besides, identity builds and articulates ties to other identities in network-domains (netdoms) (White, 2008). From this perspective, the study aims to examine how community media interact with communities by looking at their identities related to their formation and sustainability.
Community media activity is defined as “media that seeks to complete freedom of expression and participatory democracy while at the same time striving to promote solidarity within the community” (Howley, 2009). This platform is an alternative model of public and commercial media and works as an important space for civic participation. Specifically, community media also plays a role in facilitating local-level discussions and sharing information for public decision-making (Buckley, 2011). It implies that community media activities are closely related to the formation and sustainability of community identity. The role and potential of community media in the public sphere are substantial, but analytical research on what role the community media plays is insufficient.
To examine how community media in local communities affect the formation of community, the author will adopt the ‘instrumental-expressive distinction’ framework to study of NPVOs (Lu Knutsen & Brower, 2010). Instrumental accountability is resource-seeking and a practical dimension for the organization. Expressive accountability is resource-consuming, and a value-oriented dimension. Almost all nonprofit activities can be identified as instrumental, expressive, or a mix of both. This study plans to identify what characteristics community media activities have by analyzing them with this lens.
The research subjects are university radio production clubs and regional-based community media operating within Metro Seoul. The city supports “The Village Community Building Project” which is a project for community revitalization in Seoul. As part of this project, community media are operating throughout the city with government supports, and this enables local residents to participate directly in production.
This study uses existing literature and archives of broadcast programs as the main sources for this study. The researcher complements these data sources with interviews conducted with participants in production and listeners. The literature investigation draws on books, academic papers, research papers, archival reports, and other materials published by relevant government agencies, and data drawn from legal sources. From these interviews and archival data, the study seeks evidence about how local community media activities have realized each accountability.
The study is meaningful for illuminating the role of community media and their effect on the dynamics of community formation. The study focuses on the processes through which communities form identities. It is a unique attempt to examine the relationship between community media and community identity for activities that have been largely neglected in the field of third-sector research. The findings of this study can provide useful insight for policymakers to support the development of community media.