Combining concepts and methods from critical cultural studies with the Freirean approach to development, Lucila Vargas examines the social value of participatory radio and the possibilities and constraints that participatory radio stations hold for improving the living conditions and the sense of self-esteem of the poor in Mexico. This book provides an ethnographic account of the social uses of radio created by several Mexican ethnic minorities by examining the matrix of interactions between a government-sponsored participatory radio network and its indigenous audiences. Vargas specifically emphasizes how and why the politics of race, ethnicity, class, and gender shape the extent and quality of people's participation in development efforts, and she also considers the larger issue of the way subaltern ethnic groups appropriate and refunctionalize modem mass technology. This inquiry leads to a method for analyzing the cultural subtleties and social intricacies of the practices that emerge from participatory radio. Through a thorough investigation of two Tojolabal Maya communities in the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico, Vargas reveals the conflicts and challenging contradictions typical of many participatory radio stations. She finds that despite the rampant racism against indigenous peoples prevalent at the radio stations, groups like the Tojolabal Maya have found creative ways to make the best of the communication resources that this participatory project has made available to them.
Table of Contents
Preface -- The Social Value of Participatory Radio -- Introduction -- Methodology -- Indigenous Participation in Production Processes -- Indigenous Peoples and the Instituto Nacional Indigenista -- The INI Network -- The Network's Staff and Other Actors -- The Programming of the INI Network -- Audience Participation and Social Uses -- Radio Margaritas' Target Audience: The Tojolabal Maya -- Exposure, Listening, and Taste -- Social Impact of Radio Margaritas -- Radio and Ethnodevelopment -- Outline of Radio Consumption Patterns -- Participation, Racism, and Social Uses -- Appendixes -- Interview Schedules