2Development Research Traditions and Global Communication


This chapter looks at the changing area of development communication. This area has focused on peripheral nations, the problems they face, and how modernization has essentially failed to deliver change in these regions. Illiteracy, the lack of a telephone service and of connectivity to the Internet, the general failure to produce indigenous content, and few indigenous media successes all come into play. After six decades of development, the peripheral nations still lack access to modern telecommunications and mass media. This chapter addresses the history and major approaches to and theories of development communication, the role of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), the competition for scarce resources, the “CNN effect,” and the paradigm shift now underway. This shift will be the focus of the chapter. The key aspect is that for decades the old paradigm of modernization had an economic focus or lens, whereas the new focus is on policy matters with a social and cultural lens. One of the emerging roles in the new paradigm is how media and telecom systems are promoting democracy as well as a higher quality of life and environmental issues. Part of the change is a bottom‐up grassroots approach, rather than the top‐down bureaucratic practices that have dominated the field since the end of World War II. Much of the early emphasis, projects, and funding were motivated by a desire to thwart the growth of communism ...

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