Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Neoliberalism,Agriculture & Communication

In Chapter 3 of Communicating Social Change, Dutta (2011) unpacks how the logic of positive values attributed to technology and modernization are used communicatively to market Western agricultural agendas that displace Third World agricultural practices, consequently forcing Third World farmers to depend on the West. Examples of such communicative strategies include the rhetoric of innovative practices, modernization, mechanized farming, and high productivity. Dutta also discusses how the rhetoric of philanthropy, development, aid, and scientific legitimacy are utilized to diffuse Western agricultural concepts that disenfranchise and impoverish peasant farmers in Third World countries.
My Questions:
1. Given that local elites who own the spaces for the expression of alternative rationalities for listening to the voices of the Subaltern advocated by Dutta are often times accomplices in development projects, what other strategies can be employed to challenge the status-quo.
2. According to Dutta (2011) the promotion of modern technologies and concepts such as the genetically modified seeds in Third World countries are implicitly carried out in collusion with global development agencies. Given that the leadership of these agencies resides in the West, how can Third World countries disrupt these power structures in light of the material inequities that exist between both regions. What communicative strategies will help to change the power equation?
3. Could the negative impacts of Western agricultural agendas such as environmental degradation, loss of communal identity and economic power that often accompany modernization projects be regarded as unintended consequences by chance?

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