Norwegian version

New media practices in a changing Africa

The project starts from two significant facts: relatively consistent economic growth in Africa over two decades, and a digital media revolution during the same period. This project aims to understand and explain to what extent and in what ways changes in sub-Saharan Africa are affected by new media through close case-based studies of four African countries (Botswana, Zambia, South-Africa and DR Congo).

About the project

This multi-disciplinary project, involving 8 researchers from 5 countries, starts from two empirical facts; Africa has experienced a relatively consistent economic growth, suggesting that broader social transformations are unfolding; and that the continent is in the middle of a media revolution. The main research question is: to what extent and in what ways are processes of change in sub-Saharan Africa affected by new media? The novelty of the current social situation implies a lack of solid knowledge about the media-related changes. The research is based on two analytical pillars; it is practice-oriented and comparative.

Media's social significance requires it to be linked to people's everyday concerns and while change is seen as processual and shall be explained by way of social mechanisms, The project's strategy is to base research on triangulated methodology aiming to gain ethnographic insights into how media is linked to social practice. However, as the project aims at generalizable knowledge, the design is a 'slanted comparison': Two sites in Botswana represents the major case while field sites in South Africa, DR Congo and Zambia serve as supplementary cases. This shall provide the basis for systematic comparisons along several lines; between urban and rural settings, different socio-economic and social environments, and - as all sites have been studied by the researcher previously - over time, as change.

The project represents bold and novel ambitions by:

  1. producing new, groundbreaking knowledge on an extremely important development;
  2. develop an advanced methodological toolkit, based on triangulation, comparison and researcher-cooperation, which can serve as a master study that others can build on; and
  3. generate new theoretical perspectives based on radical practice theory.
  • Partner institutions

    • OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University
    • University of Oslo
    • University of Cape Town
    • London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
    • University of Birmingham
    • Harvard University
    • University of Botswana
  • Participants

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