New MeCoDEM Working Paper: Culture and Democratisation

A concept paper by Katy Parry and Giorgia Aiello on diverse cultural forms relevant to studying political culture and communication is now available.

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Executive Summary

This short concept paper introduces ideas for how MeCoDEM might bring ‘culture’ into the project. It sets out how diverse cultural forms are significant to the construction and negotiation of stories, narratives, frames, images and memories that circulate, especially for our interest, during times of conflict. It also highlights how culture contributes to the re-configurations of politics, identities and institutions in times of transition. We are especially interested in how cultural practices give voice or visibility to particular actors and constituencies through the media, how they may contribute to breaking down virtual, digital and physical barriers between individuals or communities, and what is at stake in mediated cultural outputs that start to form collective memory.
The paper presents:

  • A summary on how expressive, artistic and symbolic aspects are relevant to studying political culture and communication.
  • Four possible paths of enquiry which take seriously the cultural dimension: Intersections with popular culture; activist use of the arts; cultural projects that address identity and memory; and individual expressions of resistance.
  • An outline of three possible overlapping approaches to the cultural dimensions of the research: Mapping existing cultural outputs; Artistic/photography projects; visual research methods.