The presence of armed groups and the proximity of armed violence and war have a tremendous impact on a community’s daily life, social fabric, local political and economic processes, and inter-communal relationships and interactions. This talk will examine the different ways war impacts communities and how different types of media can counter these impacts. Through a series of examples from my fieldwork in Colombia, the talk will illustrate the complex and multidimensional roles mainstream media, citizens’ media, and social media have in contexts of armed violence.
Dr. Clemencia Rodríguez is a Professor in the Department of Media Studies and Production at Temple University. In her book Fissures in the Mediascape: An International Study of Citizens’ Media (2001), Rodríguez developed her “citizens’ media theory,” a groundbreaking approach to understanding the role of community/alternative media in our societies. More recently she explored how people living in the shadow of armed groups use community radio, television, video, digital photography, and the Internet to shield their communities from the negative impacts of armed violence. This involved fieldwork in regions of Colombia where leftist guerillas, right-wing paramilitary groups, the army, and drug traffickers make their presence felt in the lives of unarmed civilians. Citizens’ Media Against Armed Conflict: Disrupting Violence in Colombia (University of Minnesota Press, 2011) reports many of her findings. She teaches in the areas of media studies, communication and social change, and media in Latin America.