Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Larry Gross


"SAME BOAT, SAME DESTINATION ... That's what a community is, if you believe that you're in the same predicament and you are going to the same place. It's one thing if you believe that you're in the , same predicament, but you're not going to the same place. I ain't gonna to deal with that, then it isn't your community; if you do, then it is. So Community Vision is articulating what the boat is and what the vision is, where you are going." (Louis Massiah, Founder of Scribe Video Center; interview, July 15th 1996)

Community/grassroots videos, community murals (Barnett 1984), community (or outlaw) short-wave radio (Urla 1995), community theater, neighborhood newspapers, and 4th World indigenous film and videomaking (Michaels 1994; Aufderheide 1995, Elder 1995) all represent communicative practices which offer alternatives to dominant mainstream mass media. In this dissertation, I examine how one of these alternative media -- community video -- takes shape in terms of its organizational processes, its textual creation and its dissemination and readership. This ethnography of community video, its producers, its texts and its audiences allows me to shed light, in turn, on the organizational and symbolic constructions of other media, especially in more heavily-studied fields such as cinema and documentary. Hence, this analysis intends to illuminate both the possibilities and the limits of conceiving and acting upon different visions of society through media.

Included in

Communication Commons