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Abstract

Evaluating the impact of media assistance is challenging for several reasons. Primary among them is that these kinds of initiatives operate in a complex political, social, and cultural environment. Although there has been increased attention to evaluation of media assistance, with a series of international conferences, funded research projects, and publications addressing this topic, it remains a problematic area of practice. This paper provides a survey of recent media assistance evaluation practices through an analysis of 47 evaluation documents of programs and projects from 2002–2012, identifying trends in methodology choices, and critiquing the quality of the evidence enabled through different evaluation approaches. It finds clear patterns in how, when and by whom evaluations are undertaken, but finds that these practices rarely generate useful, insightful evaluations.

Abstract

Digital media have been defined as meta-media that integrate new as well as old media on a single technological platform. As such, digital media enable new forms of meta-communication about the conditions under which communication is accomplished. The resulting meta-data bear witness to who was present, when, where and doing what, and these meta-data remain present for system administrators, regulators, marketers and other third parties to reinterpret and recycle. This article outlines the importance of meta-communication for contemporary communication theory, examines mediated presence as an instance of meta-communication, and addresses the implications of digitally mediated presence for current issues of surveillance.

Abstract

This article argues for communication for social change theory to be based on a theory of knowledge, a specific understanding of process that feeds into practice, a knowledge of structures, a specific understanding of context and flows of power. It highlights the example of the Right to Information Movement in India as an embodiment of meaningful practice that was in itself a response to the felt needs of people. It argues that the RTI movement provided opportunities to understand Voice as a practice and value through indigenous means, specifically through the mechanism of the Jan Sunwai (Public Hearings). It argues that when local people are involved in articulating ‘needs’, there will be scope for the sustainability of the practice of communication and social change and opportunities to theorise from such practice.

Abstract

The terminology of populism is often taken for granted, even though the very meaning of populism is quite unclear. The article approaches populism by exploring the meanings given to the term in the Nordic press during the first parliamentary elections of the 2010s in Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark. A combination of the quantitative content analysis and the qualitative frame analysis of the leading quality and popular papers is favoured. In the study of the use of populism in the British press the conclusion was that the term was used more or less explicitly in a pejorative way, although uses of the term varied and had no consistent logic. In the Nordic press recurring frames were found, but the meanings given to populism were only fully understood in their political and cultural contexts. The different life phases of the domestic populist parties as well as differences in Nordic political cultures especially explain the variation in the usage of the term.

Abstract

Cooperation and communication play an important role for environmental governance. This holds true for the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe, one of the most disturbed ecosystems in the world, where insufficient cooperation between different stakeholders is one reason for goal failure. This article addresses the linkages between (media) framing on the one hand, and cooperation on the other. The case in focus is a set of negotiations related to the Baltic Sea Action Plan, the most central governance strategy in the Baltic Sea region. Our results show that in order to influence political decision-making, key stakeholders compete over the power to define and interpret problems, causes and solutions to an extent impeding cooperation. We focus the analysis on eutrophication, which we show to be a complex and controversial topic, framed in incompatible ways by different stakeholders.

Abstract

A current empirical study explores how Austrian women aged 60 to 70 use and ascribe meaning to ICTs such as television, radio, mobile phone, computer or the Internet. In the study, life-graphs, semi-structured interviews, and indoor walking interviews are used to examine the everyday usage and interpretation of ICTs by older women, coming from various social backgrounds and living in the Austrian region of Styria. Analysing empirical material of the study, this paper focuses on the interrelation of generation-specific media practices and individual (media) biographies as they both influence older women's usage of and attitude towards ICTs. By using Maierhofer's concept of “anocriticism” as a frame for the analysis of the material in addition to Mannheim's idea of “generation location”, it becomes possible to elaborate on a more nuanced understanding of the relation between collective experiences within time and individual life-course perspectives in the context of ICTs.

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Abstract

This article argues for an attempt to rethink what counts as gaming expertise. Often, expertise is configured as a fixed and measurable rather than relational capacity – having the necessary level of knowledge with a skill to become expert, or to rise above a particular and objectively defined level of competency. Drawing on interviews with women playing the massively multiplayer online game1 World of Warcraft, the article argues for an understanding of gaming expertise as a relational, highly contextual capacity, operating and embedded in everyday situations. Through the lens of gaming expertise, the article teases out the complex ways in which gender, technology and identity intersect and are constructed and negotiated in different social contexts.

Footnotes

1

Massively multiplayer online games are games capable of supporting large numbers of players interacting, competing and cooperating, as they simultaneously inhabit the persistent open world of the game space.