Parution - The Discursive-Material Knot


The Discursive-Material Knot

Cyprus in Conflict and Community Media Participation

Nico Carpentier


The theoretical framework of the discursive-material knot consists out of a non-hierarchical ontology of the interactions of the discursive and the material, articulating the assemblages that are driven by this ontological setting as restless and contingent, sometimes incessantly changing shapes and sometimes being deeply sedimented. This book acknowledges the importance of discourse studies, in having produced a better understanding of the socio-political role of frameworks of intelligibility, and of materialism theory in highlighting the importance of the agentic role of materials. Still, the combination of the discursive and the material requires our attention in a much more fundamental way; that is where this book’s first platform aims to provide a contribution.


These ontological-theoretical reflections are not produced in a void, but they are put to work in this book, first in platform two, which consists of a discursive-material re-reading of three theoretical fields, dealing with practices that are all highly relevant in contemporary democracies: participation, community media and conflict (transformation). Finally, in the third platform, this book turns its attention to a particular social reality, analyzing the logic of the discursive-material knot in the particular context of the Cyprus Problem. This case study fills a gap by bringing community media and conflict transformation together, through the analysis of the role of the Cyprus Community Media Centre (CCMC), and its webradio MYCYradio, in contributing to the transformation of antagonism into agonism. Deploying a discursive-material analysis to study the participation and agonization (and their articulation) in CCMC/MYCYradio shows the complexity and richness of conflict transformation processes, in combination with the importance of organizations such as CCMC/MYCYradio for the betterment of society.

Nico Carpentier is Professor in Media and Communica on Studies at the Department of Informatics and Media of Uppsala University. In addition, he holds two part‐time positions, those of Associate Professor at the Communication Studies Department of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Docent at Charles University in Prague. He is a Research Fellow at the Cyprus University of Technology and Loughborough University. Earlier books are Understanding Alternative Media (2007, co‐authored with Olga Bailey and Bart Cammaerts), and Media and Participation: A Site of Ideological‐Democratic Struggle (2011).

The author's website (LINK)

Praise for the Discursive-Material Knot    

    "Nico Carpentier once again demonstrates himself to be one of the most sophisticated, rigorous and timely theorists of the politics of participation in contemporary culture. Here, he works through the major strands of current theory to distill and synthesize a brilliant conceptual framework which he applies to understanding the Cyprus crisis, the discursive and material roots of nationalism, and the varied roles and models of community media. Rarely do we see theory and application brought together with such spectacular results."
-Henry Jenkins, author of By Any Media Necessary: The New Youth Activism

"This book is essential reading for anyone interested in the question of how to treat the relation between discourse and matter from the points of view of theory, method, and critique. In a breathtakingly systematic-iterative application of a novel framework to the Cyprus problem, Nico Carpentier explores the potential of community media to transform the status of conflict from antagonism to agonism. In so doing the book robustly defends and advances the analytical and critical potential of discourse theory, demonstrating the immensely productive consequences of conceptualizing the relation between discourse and matter as a 'knot.'"
-Jason Glynos, Essex University, United Kingdom

"The Discursive-Material Knot takes us to a highly significant, yet under-studied, region and provides a rich account of community based media in Cyprus. I particularly commend Nico Carpentier's fine work to bring together the discursive and the material on the basis of a well-researched case. This is a must-read for anyone who is interested in discourse theory and community media."
-Miyase Christensen, Stockholm University, Sweden

"Every few years a book offers great insight on the often contested relationship between citizen media and agency. The Discursive-Material Knot is one such remarkable contribution. Embracing both critical reflection of participation theories and analytical interpretation of empirical studies, this book articulates an original model that deepens understanding of community media and conflict transformation."
-Tao Papaioannou, University of Nicosia, Cyprus

"This book is a must-read! Guaranteed to make you think about the role of community media and its impact on conflict transformation. Nico Carpentier provides a detailed and sensitive analysis of the Cyprus conflict from its past to its present and offers valuable insight into to the many mechanisms at play in shaping its future."
-Shirin Jetha, independent consultant

"The Discursive-Material Knot will be an invaluable methodological toolkit for all those that will be researching community media organizations within the context of the ecological systems in which they operate. Its non-hierarchical nature and the use of a knot model for its analysis, is a very fitting tool to tackle the variety of diverse community media practices across the globe. The combination of highly theoretical work with empirical research, embedded within a mix of participatory use of qualitative research methods, promises to be a great resource for scholars and reflective practitioners alike."
-Salvatore Scifo, Bournemouth University, United Kingdom

"Nico Carpentier's latest book on community media inspires the reader to imagine a 'nonhierarchical buffer zone' in 'triptych' form. Taking Cyprus as a case study is not only a courageous act, but also a transcending experiment for rhizomatic media creating their own agency... 'The discursive-material knot' is a creative referral throughout the book; a perpetual reminder of antagonistic interactions between conflict, community and participation."
-Asli Telli Aydemir, Researcher and digital rights activist

"Blending theory and collaborative research, this book presents discursive-material analyses of participation, community media organizations and conflict transformation with a case study so close to home. Nico Carpentier has been tirelessly exploring the Cypriot conflict through the lens of community media for years; this brilliant and comprehensive work comes as no surprise!"
-Orestis Tringides and Hazal Yolga, Cyprus Community Media Centre and Cyprus Community Media Research Program researchers

"In this inspiring and outstanding book, Nico Carpentier provides an innovative theoretical framework which allows understanding and explaining the complexity of civil society community media. This integrated interdisciplinary approach is complemented by a fascinating in-depth history and ethnography of Cypriot society and its range of- sometimes-agonistic media production and reception, thus succeeding in grounding the grand theories in discursive and material practices."
-Ruth Wodak, Emeritus Professor, Lancaster University, United Kingdom, and University of Vienna, Austria