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AFRIK-IT  March 1998

AFRIK-IT March 1998

Subject:

Communication for Development in the 3rd World

From:

Clinton Jones <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

African Network of IT Experts and Professionals (ANITEP) List

Date:

Wed, 18 Mar 1998 15:44:58 +0200

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (118 lines)

http://www.ccsp.sfu.ca/calj/cjc/BackIssues/18.1/reviews.html#REV19

Is anyone on this list familar with this work ? :

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
---------------------------
Communication for Development in the Third World--Theory and Practice.
By Srinivas R. Melkote. New Delhi:
Sage Publications India, 1992. 292 pp.

Professor Srinivas Melkote's work offers a refreshingly different
perspective from the standard Western recitation of
material on the topic of communication and development. The work was first
published in India to provide ``students with
a book that synthesizes all pertinent material in development
communication between two covers'' (p. 30). Melkote
organizes his work around a historical review of development
communication and a discussion of the theory and practice
of Development Support Communication, drawing from the fields of rural
sociology, social psychology, social work,
communication, and political economy.

The book is well designed and features boxed inserts on such topics as a
definition of the Third World and discussion of
the world's major non-Western religions. It provides the reader with just
enough background material to support the
author's major contentions. There is an extensive 14-page reference list
and an adequate index.

The book begins with a complimentary foreword by Everett Rogers and two
very concise but illuminating overviews of
Third World Development/Underdevelopment and Development
Communication Theories since World War II. The first
text section provides a welcomed historical centring for the reader--Europe
was not always the font of civilization, an
image it cultivated for itself for centuries. The author reminds us of the
extraordinarily successful river valley civilizations in
Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Indus Valley, and China. Around 1500 the
merchant class in Europe was able to subjugate and
reduce ``to serfdom vast numbers of human beings across the southern
two-thirds of the globe'' (p. 35): an area that has
become known as the Third World. This process illustrates that the ability of
some nations to acquire and apply
knowledge faster than others allowed them to assume a more dominant
stance by which they gained not only wealth but
influence over the development of other nations.

Colonization's demise by the 1960s and the upsurge in Organized
Development Assistance led to the imposition of the
Dominant Paradigm. This forced development patterns, which were little
more than the rehashed historical policies of the
colonial powers, on newly independent states. The author does an excellent
job revealing the simplistic, linear,
deterministic mind-set of scholars such as Schramm, Lerner, Pool, Pye, and
Rostow and how their theories were
authority-based, top-down, expert-driven, non-negotiable, and well
intentioned. Melkote includes in this section
appropriate background discussion of the effects approach to
communication theory and its attendant models, diffusion of
innovation studies, and mass media's effects on modernization.

Two decades of development under the Dominant Paradigm resulted in less
for many. The second section of the book
chronicles the deflowering of that paradigm. Critical Latin American scholars
(Frank, Diaz-Bordenave, Cardoso, and
Beltran) and the Dependency School began to focus on the exploitation of
the periphery (developing countries) by the
centre (industrialized countries). Others (Singer and Srinivas) were
resurrecting Eastern religions and cultures from the
Weberian view that their non-Western perspective debilitated development.

The book concludes by discussing alternative development paradigms
grounded in the contextual needs of individual
countries and regions. Development should shift from economic growth and
industrialization to fulfilling health care,
nutrition, sanitation, and shelter needs, and it should be gauged by such
non-material development indices as
self-determination, self-reliance, cultural autonomy, ecological balance, and
human rights. Under this new paradigm, called
Another Development, communication becomes a co-equal knowledge-
sharing process between users and sources--a
means to raise consciousness and community participation. Goals and
standards are set by host communities, not outside
agencies. The challenge for the 1990s, according to the author, is to create
an operational framework for the principles set
forth in this work. He offers specifics on how to increase participation in
projects and outlines the management information
function of Development Support Communication.

The author does succeed in placing between two covers the kernels of both
the theory and practice of communication for
development in the Third World. The task was accomplished with measured
grace and economy. The text would serve as
an excellent introduction to the field or as a cultural awareness primer in a
more general international communication
course.

Kent Sidel, University of South Carolina






Clinton Jones AMIAP
PO Box 12292, Centrahil, 6006
South Africa
Tel/Fax +27.(041).532067

[log in to unmask]
http://www.teleworker.co.za/clinton/

"To trip and fall on your own sword  is not a very honorable way to die"
'Search for Africa'
http://www.zebra.co.za
http://www.aardvark.co.za
http://www.ananzi.co.za

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