Rethinking the interface : the limits and possibilities of communication for development.
Burton, Simon Ingram Robshaw.
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Development communication is now a recognized field within communication studies, but has always been implicated with the discourse and practices of development, as well as drawing on the lexicon of sociology for its elaboration of social phenomena and processes. This dissertation sets out to provide a case study-based review of the limits and possibilities of communication in/for development through the lens of interface analysis, a framework developed by Norman Long to reconstitute an understanding of development itself in an actor centered fashion. Adopting a broader based understanding of the concept of interface, in order to provide a communicative tool which goes beyond development practice , three dimensions of communication and development are considered: the 'dominant paradigm' with its emphasis on mass media; participatory communication with its emphasis on dialogue and social change; and communication based on new information and communication technologies, with its emphasis on the benefits of the internet. Central to the discussion is a consideration of the significance of information in developing contexts, and the centrality of communication to social relations more generally. Each of the case studies provides a concrete example of one or more of the three dimensions outlined above, and offers a platform for extending a conceptual and critical engagement with past contributions to the particular problematic. The objective of these engagements is less the establishment of firm conclusions than it is with the delineation of further topics for research, and the clarification of the future direction of communication in/for development.
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