Comunicaçao e Sociedade
Bergillos, I. (2019). “Participation as a talisman: a metaphorical-theoretical reflection about the conceptualization of participation". Comunicaçao e Sociedade, 36, pp. 207-220. https://doi.org/10.17231/comsoc.36(2019).2352
Even if participation has been a key word in many research areas within Communication and Media Studies, there are still theoretical disagreements about its definition. The inevitable coexistence of different approaches to the concept has hindered the development of a unique theoretical framework. However, the efforts to conceptualise participation and to understand the increasing participatory practices in/through media in the last years has nourished the field of participatory communication and participatory culture with insightful ideas that serve as common ground for future research. Most of these ideas, while apparently contradictory, follow similar patterns and interests that could potentially lead to a shared understanding of what participation is or should be. This article tries to contribute to the objective of rescuing participation by theoretically reviewing the conceptual apparatus of participation in Communication and Media Studies and introducing the idea that participation can be conceptualized through the metaphor of the talisman. Following Lakoff and Johnson (1980), this article argues that the way we conceptualize phenomena has an influence on how we perceive our practices. If we assume to rescue as an act to save from danger or evil, we should reclaim an understanding of participation as a powerful amulet. In that sense, the theoretical review of the conceptualizations of participation in the field of Media and Communication Studies that this article offers, will argue that participation can, at least partially, be structured, understood, defined and used in terms of a talisman. Specifically, the text will discuss four aspects that structure this metaphorical concept: participation as a fantasy, the authenticity of participation, the ritual of participation, and its (aesthetic) value.