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Work Package Two (or WP2) is the MeDeMap work package that provides theoretical support for the entire research project. As is often the case in large research projects, one of the main tasks of WP2 is to develop a theoretical framework at the very beginning of the project, in order to allow the other MeDeMap work packages to ground their (empirical) activities in these theoretical reflections. As the different teams cannot wait for too long, in order to start their empirical research activities, theory development is often concentrated at the very beginning of the project. In the case of MeDeMap, this was not different and WP2 produced this theoretical framework, entitled “Democracy and Media: A Discursive-Material Approach”, after six months of intense work. 

The “Democracy and Media: A Discursive-Material Approach” book has two main parts. The first part focusses on democracy itself, identifying its core elements and its conditions of possibility, but also sketching the different areas of democracy that are contested, and part of democratic debate itself. At the same time, this part also discusses the threats to democracy, such as the contemporary authoritarian tendencies. In the second part, where the focus is placed on the role of the multitude of media in democracy, a similar structure is used, first highlighting the core (definitional) elements of media, their different types of roles in democracy, and the conditions of possibility for these roles. As European media are embedded in democracy, also their role is part of democratic debate, and they are simultaneously object of anti-democratic forces, which threaten their democratic roles. 

In contrast to many other large-scale projects, the role of the theoretical work package does not fade out after the first year. Apart from supporting the other MeDeMap work packages by operationalizing the theoretical framework, and further enriching these theoretical elaborations with empirical data, WP2 will remain active until the end of the project, as in particular the participatory action research component of work package six—focussing on the organization and study of citizen parliaments—will require continuous theoretical support, allowing for the iterative cross-fertilization of empirical research and theory development. 

Nico Carpentier