New Media Practices in a Changing Africa’ is a multi-disciplinary project, involving 8 researchers and 7 institutions in 5 countries with funding from the Research Council of Norway, FRIPRO programme.
This research project examines new media practices in Africa and their relation to processes of change on the continent. Africa has experienced a relatively consistent economic growth, suggesting that broader social transformations are unfolding. In addition, the continent is in the middle of a digital media revolution. It is more than likely that there is a causal relationship between the two but there is very little knowledge as to how these processes are linked.
New media are rapidly spreading on the African continent. The web is becoming increasingly more individualised, dialogical and commercialised. We observe a mushrooming of social media accessed on user-friendly and mobile platforms. We witness a change to a situation in which interactive ICTs are becoming an ingrained part of most people’s lives. Communication between close and distant others related to economic concerns, information gathering, community matters, global networking, politics and identity all increasingly involve digital mediation.
Over the course of three years, this comparative project will carry out pioneering and innovative research on the social effects of the rapid spread of new media in Africa. Featured country case studies include Botswana, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia. With practice theory as an analytical foundation, the aim of the project is to generate knowledge that is useful for understanding the social and economic developments that Africa is currently going through.
For more information on this project, please visit www.mediafrica.no.
Dr Wendy Willems
Head of Research team, Zambia
Interests and expertise: global digital culture and social change; urban communication; postcolonial/decolonial approaches to media and communication; popular culture, performance and politics in Africa; media culture and neoliberalism in the Global South
For more information on Dr Willems’ contribution to this project, visit http://www.mediafrica.no/zambia/.
Peer-reviewed Journal Articles