Differentiating between access, interaction and participation
Participation has regained a remarkable presence in academic debates within Communication and Media Studies, amongst other fields and disciplines. At the same time, the concept of participation has remained vague because of its frequent and diverse usages and its intrinsically political nature, which renders it difficult to use in an academic context. Conceptual clarity is generated through a combination of negative-relationist and inter- disciplinary strategies. The former means that an argument is made in favour of a more focussed meaning of participation, on the basis of a comparison with two other concepts, access and interaction. The interdisciplinary strategy consists of a broad theoretical re-reading that focuses on the academic literature in which these distinc- tions are made, or where the independent nature of one of the three concepts is particularly emphasized. At the end of this text, the different meanings of access, interaction and participation are structured and integrated in a model, which is labelled the AIP model.
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