Monday, February 23, 2009

Linking Developmental Communication and CCA

Wilkins (1999) says that "development communication refers to the strategic application of communication technologies and processes to promote social change" (p. 197) and that all future trends in this field needs to focus on the issues of power - both in theory and in practice. Wilkins says that power as a variable should be central to policy developments, and that it is imperative to understand how the power framework effects social change. Using Simmel (1986) and Foucault (1986), Wilkins says that "power is unevenly held but established through interaction within existing networks" (p. 198) and institutional discourse helps promote agency in people and cannot be apolitical.

Governments and other agencies try to promote social changes using political, economic and ideological power and institutions. However, such policies/programs look at interventions in a sort of us versus them way. It is more of a foreigner perspective on things local. This links well with the main criticism of the Eurocentric and outsider-perspective looks of campaigns to 'lift' marginalized people from their misery.

Once again we see the plight of a marginalized group, in terms of the Santalis' narratives, of their lives. Shocking, but not surprising to me is that the core of their concerns is hunger/food. At a time when there is much controversy over movies like Slumdog Millionaire about its portrayal of Indian poverty, I do not consider that actual poverty was portrayed in that movie - not even close.

I feel it would be great to combine the Culture Centered Approach and developmental communication to try to assist people to improve their livelihoods. Empowering them just through a discursive space may not be enough when at the end of the day people cannot eat one proper meal. So we need to find something better.

No comments: