Knowledge Production for Media Development in Postcolonial Media Systems

By Johanna Mack


This Ph.D. project searches links between media systems research and theories as well as practices of media development. Postcolonial critique helps to examine practices knowledge production about media systems in academia and in the media development sector. As an exemplary case study, Guinea-Bissau’s media landscape will be mapped and different descriptions of the media system will be examined.


The project will contribute to the theoretical discussion about chances and limits of current models and theories of media systems and question their use for describing media systems for a postcolonial and continuously unstable country such as Guinea-Bissau. The roles of media development within media systems will be in focus.


Practices of knowledge production about media landscapes used by actors of international media development shall be analysed and compared. What knowledge is the conceptualization, funding, implementation, and evaluation of media development interventions based on? Which knowledge is generated, how, what it is used for and how are these practices debated?


Referring to local media actors’ understanding of the Bissau-Guinean media system and considering theoretical insights as well as practical needs, existing strategies shall be analysed? How can new and context-sensitive approaches to knowledge production about media systems in unstable contexts help to find starting points for sustainable media development? Based on its findings, this study will suggest strategies for the case of Guinea-Bissau.



Supervisors: Prof Jens Loenhoff, University Duisburg-Essen and Prof Susanne Fengler, Erich Brost Institute, Technical University Dortmund
Practice Partner: Deutsche Welle Akademie




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