PhD Thesis – BEYOND PROJECT: An Ethnographic Study in Community Media Education


BEYOND PROJECT: An Ethnographic Study in Community Media
by Shawn Naphtali Sobers

Research Question
“According to facilitators, participators and trainees of community media educational activity, what are the prime motivations of involvement, and what impacts and areas of sustainability result from the sector’s instances of pedagogy?”

Thesis Summary
The author of this thesis is active as a practitioner working within the area of community media education activity: the focus area of this research.  This research links practice to theory to address the central research question.  It employs methodologies informed by post-colonial theories including auto-ethnography and critical pedagogy to discuss the research findings in context of wider literature drawn from the disciplines of community media, community arts, media education, educational psychology, informal education, anthropology and cultural studies.

Community Media activities operate in a fragmented landscape of practice, making the notions of impact and sustainability problematic issues to negotiate, and presents difficulties with identifying related evidence.  This research presents extensive qualitative ethnographic investigation into the impacts and sustainability in the lives of facilitators, participants and trainees who have been involved in such projects for a minimum of four years.  This research evidences the prime motivations of why these stakeholders got involved with the projects from the very beginning, and maps these findings against the impacts and cultural sustainability as articulated, gaining an insight into both the pedagogic journey of the individuals, and the pedagogic qualities of the media projects.

This study employs a methodology that favours the stakeholders to speak for themselves, presenting individuals articulating what the impacts were on their own lives directly, thus matching the methodology of the study with the principles of the community media sector itself: to enable individuals to represent themselves.  At specific instances throughout this thesis the author will be referred to in the first person, due to the adopted additional methodology of autoethnography, which links analytical interpretation with personal exploration. 

Download pdf of full thesis – click here.


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