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'Fuck the clowns from Grease!!' Fantasies of participation and agency in the YouTube comments on a Cypriot Problem documentary
ORCID iD: ncarpent
2014 (English)In: Information, Communication and Society, ISSN 1369-118X, E-ISSN 1468-4462, Vol. 17, no 8, 1001-1016 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The article aims to contribute to (and deepen) the debates on participatory theory through the usage of the psychoanalytical concept of fantasy. Its starting point is that participation is defined as a process where power relations are equalized. As a society with totally balanced power relations is both a real and impossible desire - given society's diversity and complexity - there is a need to theorize how situations of 'full' (or maximalist) participation are unattainable and empty, but simultaneously play a key role as ultimate anchoring points and horizons. By reverting to the notion of fantasy, (maximalist) participation can be defined as a phantasmagoric discourse that incorporates, firstly, the impossible idea of reaching a full power equilibrium in society and, secondly, the ability to serves as a crucial driving force for the attempts to further deepen democracy. Moreover, this conceptualization also allows me to acknowledge the ways that this (maximalist) participatory fantasy is affected by a series of other fantasies, including the closely related (and reinforcing) fantasy of agency and freedom, and the more counteracting fantasies of homogeneity and unity, and of leadership and the societal centre. The complexity and interconnectedness of these fantasies is (in the second part of the article) illustrated by an analysis of a series of YouTube comments on a documentary. This documentary, entitled 'Cyprus Still Divided', deals with the Cyprus Problem and the 1974 invasion of the island by Turkey. The often heated debates show that the participatory fantasy (and the related fantasy of agency) play a key role in the legitimization of the posters' efforts to formulate and defend their perspectives on the Cyprus Problem. Through the case study, we can also see how other fantasies impose structural limits on these participatory practices (and fantasy), and how a series of drives threaten to reduce participation to its purely formal version.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 17, no 8, 1001-1016 p.
Keyword [en]
cyprus, fantasy, media studies, participation, politics, psychoanalysis
National Category
Media Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-278635OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-278635DiVA: diva2:906712
Available from: 2016-02-24 Created: 2016-02-24 Last updated: 2016-02-24

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