Community media have been studied extensively in the past decades, but their role in conflict resolution hardly received any academic attention (with a few exceptions, like Rodriguez' (2011) work in Columbia). Focusing on the divided island of Cyprus, and its community media centre (CCMC), established in 2009, the main research question of this proposal is how the representations of the political and the social, and the organization of participation by community media can contribute to a shift from antagonism to agonism within the Cypriot public space. Within the agonistic democratic model, developed by Mouffe (2005), this implies that hostility is replaced by the acceptance of the adversary. The theoretical backbone will be provided by this agonistic democratic model, combined with models on democratic media practices, including peace journalism.
The project, which also involves a Greek-Cypriot university, has four research phases. In phase 1, the literature review is combined with stakeholder focus groups on the more general role of media in representing the conflict. In phase 2, a selection of CCMC projects and productions will be analyzed, and in phase 3 (grounded in action research) a number of interventions (podcasts) will be produced, a process which will be ethnographically analyzed. In phase 4, a reception study is organized, combining the analysis of online discussions on the podcasts, with reception focus groups about the CCMC productions and the interventions.