Monday, October 25, 2010

CCA and Academic Opportunism

One of the fundamental tenets of CCA is its struggle against academic opportunism and clientelism that are established in academic structures and the bureaucracies tied to these structures. The critiques offered by earlier CCA projects have continually drawn attention to the middle class elitism and clientelism of mainstream campaigns that continue to use the subaltern contexts as grounds for doing research, gathering data, and publishing papers, without really the commitment to actually listening or making a difference. This albeit is a theme that is continually articulated through CCA projects where communities discuss their marginalization and exploitation in the hands of researchers. It is precisely in this backdrop then that I find myself negotiating the lines of co-optive politics as the language of CCA is turning more toward fundable options. People that trashed ideas of community knowledge or community dialogue are all of a sudden interested in the conversation because there is money here. So how does one retain their skepticism and yet be authentically open to dialogue and learning within and with the dominant structures and the individuals that have historically enjoyed their privileged positions within these dominant structures that we critique.


Anonymous said...

I remember when Frank Boster said that Health Communication wasn't a real field of study... :)

Mohan J. Dutta said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts! This also brings us to the question of what knowledge is, how to measure it, and who gets to decide what is acceptable and unacceptable form of knowledge...the thing that this raises questions for me about (and this is the classic CCA question) is regarding the legitimacy of the umbrella judgments that are often passed by academics based on arrogant interpretations, often out of ignorance!