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Javnost - The Public, Vol. 17 - 2010, No. 2

Legitimising the BBC in the Digital Cultural Sphere: The Case of Capture Wales

, , pages: 83-100

This paper explores the use of new media by the BBC as a strategy for sustaining institutional legitimacy under a new regulative regime favouring open market competition. Focusing on the case of Capture Wales, a BBC Wales internet-based project that describes Wales from the citizens’ autobiographical perspectives, and using a discourse analysis approach, we examine how the BBC re-positions itself in the emerging digital cultural sphere by using technology in the service of public participation. We observe a sense of empowerment in the opportunity participants were given arguing that such empowerment is no small thing, insofar as it clearly demonstrates that the public value produced through technological innovation lies in re-negotiating the power relations between institutional authority and ordinary people – in allowing the latter to appropriate the “means of media production” and to tell their own stories in public. Ultimately the article suggests that competing interests give rise to crucial tensions between ethico-political (serving society) and instrumental (justifying the licence fee) conceptions of benefi t within Capture Wales, which in turn produce constant struggles over the visibility as well as the vision of/for this digital storytelling project by the stakeholders involved in its execution.

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