LAS 381 • 17-DEVELOPMENT COMMUNICATION
9:00 AM-12:00 PM
If we are to improve our attempts to address serious global problems and resolve devastating conflicts, we must re-evaluate development communication as a practice and as an approach. Development communication involves the strategic application of communication technologies and processes to resolve social problems. This course surveys the field of development communication, from its historical conceptions within the US toward its current practice in developing countries. In the first section, we review and critique historical conceptions of media and modernity. The field was initiated by scholars and practitioners who believed that media technologies would promote economic, political and social reforms akin to the model of modernity experienced in the U.S. This approach subsequently came under serious critique. We will debate these critiques of development and concerns with cultural imperialism. As a response to these critiques, several alternative approaches were advocated. Following our discussions of the dominant approaches to understanding development communication and subsequent critiques, we consider alternative approaches advocating participation, liberation, resistance and recognizing power as a central dimension.
This course will take a critical approach toward understanding how development organizations produce communication strategies and how strategic interventions communicate assumptions about development. Typically development communication concerns the implementation of projects that use media technologies in efforts to promote social change. We will discuss how communication campaigns, entertainment-education strategies, and new information and communication technologies are being used in development intervention. Development practice also communicates assumptions about the world, social problems, appropriate solutions, communities, and more. In the final section, we will explore development discourse concerning the nature of development, gender, and the very process of social change. We will conclude by considering what we might hope for in a "post-development" world.