After obtaining his MA-degree in political sciences at the Free University of Brussels in 1996 Bart Cammaerts worked as a spokesperson and as advisor on information society issues for Elio Di Rupo, the then Belgian vice-Prime Minister and Minister for Economic affairs and Telecommunication. After that he joined the research centre SMIT at the Free University of Brussels as a doctoral researcher. In 2002 he obtained a PhD in social sciences with a thesis bearing the title: 'Social Policy and the Information Society: on the changing role of the state, social exclusion and the divide between words and deeds'. This was followed by post-doctoral research within the EMTEL2-network, financed by the 5th framework program of the EU Commission. He analysed the impact of the Internet on the transnationalisation of civil society actors, on direct action and on interactive civic engagement. After that he obtained a Marie Curie research-fellowship, based at the Media and Communication Department of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), where he studied the participatory claims and practices of international organisations, involving civil society actors in their decision-making processes and the use of the Internet to facilitate this. Bart Cammaerts is now senior lecturer in the Media and Communications Department of the LSE and director of the MSc in Media and Communications. He is former chair of the Communication and Democracy Section of the European Communication and Research Association - ECREA and vice-chair of the Communication, Technology & Policy-section of the International Association for Media and Communication Research - IAMCR. Beyond academia, Bart Cammaerts is also active within the community radio movement and as a musician and DJ.
On a more general level, he has been addressing theoretical notions of (participatory) democracy, globalisation/transnationalisation, participation, access, (self-)representation, public sphere, power, social change and counter-hegemonic strategies of resistance. Within these areas media and communication is considered to have different meanings, as a symbolic arena for the (re-)production of meaning, as a citizenship right, as a political actor, or as a tool for empowerment and activism but also as a tool of propaganda and the dissemination of discourses of hatred. With regard to methodologies he has combined quantitative methods, such as surveys, with qualitative methods, such as interviews and critical discourse analysis. A recurrent theme in his research relates to overcoming rigid dichotomies and analytical categories such as alternative/mainstream, new/old media, public/private and consider the interactions between both ends of these dichotomies. While these dichotomies have a role to play in structuring our way of thinking about the social and the political, reality is often much more messier.
Regarding future research he is working on current activist cultures and how a media and communication saturated environment impacts on activist identities, the nature of protest and more broadly civic cultures; community radio regulation in a digital age and multi-stakeholderism; and the consequences of different patterns of consumption of and value attributed to music for alternative labels and artists.
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