Authors Archives: Nico Carpentier

Chameleon strategies of BBOT-BNA, a Brussels digital storytelling organization. Dealing with the urban community, institutional politics and participation.

1. Introduction

In a city like Brussels, where different communities live together and interact, participatory media practices can play an important role in the construction of a democratic and communicative urban network. Analyzing one of these participatory urban media organizations – the digital storytelling organization BBOT-BNA (a combination of abbreviations of the Dutch[1] ‘Brussel Behoort Ons Toe’ and the French ‘Bruxelles Nous Appartient’, both meaning ‘Brussels Belongs To Us’) – allows for a closer look at the construction of a Brussels urban community. Since 2000, BBOT-BNA has been facilitating inhabitants of Brussels to record and upload their conversations in an online open-access database.

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Introduction: A European perspective on Politics and Culture

In this fourth issue of Politics and Culture (2008) we have explicitly chosen for a European perspective. An editorial team of 6, consisting of 3 Belgians (Joke Bauwens, Nico Carpentier & Sofie Van Bauwel), 2 Germans (Tanja Thomas & Fabian Virchow) and one Hungarian (Peter Csigo) launched a call for essays and reviews, for instance using ECREA’s mailing list. The end result is an issue with 6 essays and 8 reviews. Given the media studies background of the 6 editors, it is not surprising that most of the essays and reviews also focus on the media as an inseparable component of the spheres of the cultural and the political.

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The critical and its anchorage into the social. An introduction to the 2009 winter issue of Politics and Culture

The critical usually finds itself in a difficult relationship with the social. Its strong investment into social change renders it both necessary and uncomfortable. Its necessity originates from the impossibility to ultimately stabilise and saturate the social, which generates spaces for difference and diversity, which in turn are the conditions of possibility for dissensus. Although we might cherish fantasies about societal consensus and harmony, and at the same time deeply fear the total loss of individuality in a Brave New World, the social is structurally characterised by conflict, which simultaneously opens up the spaces for the critical to be elaborated.

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