Tuning In: Identity Formation in Community Radio for Social Change

Bridget Backhaus


Community radio is a powerful tool for self-expression, alternative discourse, and democratizing media access. What is less established, though, is the role of community radio in the construction and expression of a mediatized identity. Drawing on research conducted at 2 community radio stations in India, this article considers mediatized identity formation and expression as facets of social change, and explores the role of community radio in these processes. This research found that community radio facilitates the articulation and expression of both community identity and individual identity among producers and volunteers. These processes can have significant benefits from a social change perspective in terms of both local knowledge sharing and empowering women. There are, however, significant gaps and silences in terms of how marginalized groups are able to access the same benefits. Participation in community radio allows certain groups to express identity in an increasingly globalized and homogenous media landscape.


identity, mediatization, community radio, voice, social change

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