Mediated Sociability: Audience Participation and Convened Citizen Engagement in Interactive Broadcast Shows in Africa
This article examines what drives audience participation in interactive broadcast shows, with implications for the democratic potential of these shows as spaces of citizen engagement and public discussion. It makes three contributions, the first two to audience and media studies and the last to political communication. First, it provides evidence to fill a gap in empirical knowledge on what drives audience participation in interactive broadcasts in Africa. “Mediated sociability”—the ways in which audience members are socialized into thinking about interactive broadcast shows as a space in which people like them have a voice—emerges as a strong determinant of audience participation. Second, it then uses this evidence from a non-Western perspective to reinforce the importance of conceptualizing the interactive broadcast show as a convened social space that can enable active citizenship. Third, by advancing scholarship on audiences and publics, the article deepens our understanding on the democratic significance of interactive broadcast in Africa and beyond.