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Development Communication


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Name | | Student Number | | Unique Assignment Number | 759220 | Semester | Semester 2 | Assignment Number | Assignment 2 | Name of Assignment | Development Communication (COM2603) |

Declaration | I, the undersigned, hereby declare that this is my own and personal work, except where the work(s) or publications of others have been acknowledged by means of reference techniques.I have read and understood Tutorial Letter CMNALLE/301 regarding technical and presentation requirements, referencing techniques and plagiarism.Your signature: (Digital Signature)Your name: Your student number: Date: 09 September 2012Witness: |

Table of contents | Page | 1. INTRODUCTION2. QUESTION 1 – Modernisation Approach3. QUESTION 2 – Dependency Theory4. QUESTION 3 – Participatory Research5. QUESTION 4 – Information and Communication Technology6. CONCLUSION7. SOURCES CONSULTED | 1124578 |

While development will mean different things to different stakeholders, it broadly refers to social changes that aim to improve living conditions in Third World communities by helping those communities to manage and improve their environment. Development communication refers to communication that promotes development. A variety of communication methods and media are designed and implemented in order to promote education, literacy, improved health care, better agricultural or industrial production practices – all of which contribute to development of Third World countries.

QUESTION 1 - The modernisation approach assumes that development is a progress from tradition to modernity. • Define the concepts “tradition” and “modernity” “Tradition” describes simple, primitive societies that are close knit and likely to live in self-contained groups or villages, which are regulated by means of a kinship system. The societies are oriented to the past and averse to change in the individual or the communal status quo. These communities have also been described as superstitious, fatalistic and emotional in their outlook. “Modernity” refers to how traditional societies have changed and progressed to resemble more complex, Western, industrialised societies. A modern society is one that has discarded traditional beliefs and customs in order to progress and where an individual’s social, economic or political standing is dictated by their own efforts rather than their position or status in a tribe, clan or family. Modern societies value innovation and progress and have abandoned superstition and fatalism. • Explain why tradition was considered as an obstacle for development Tradition was judged to be an obstacle for development as the character, values, attitudes and psychological orientation of traditional people (peasants) were deemed to be inconsistent with progress. Some of the peasants’ characteristics identified as obstacles included their suspicion and distrustfulness, beliefs in fatalism and pre-determination, limited aspirations and personal motivation and an extremely limited view of the world. The peasants found it difficult to even imagine new situations and places, which also accounted for their lack of innovativeness and negative attitude to change. While peasants were dependent on government authorities, they were also hostile and distrustful towards them and clung to their families who played the most important and dominant roles in their limited social, economic and political lives. • Explain the characteristics of a modern society Modern society is deemed to be Westernised in that the lifestyle, consumer goods, media programmes and infrastructure reflect first world standards of quality and availability. A modern society is also industrialised society where workers are employed in the production of raw material, consumer goods and the technology sector, rather than engaging in subsistence farming. Another characteristic of modern society is that economic activities and industries usually develop around big cities, so it can be described as urbanised rather than ruralised. The economic system in a modern society is based on capitalism and free market principles, which encourage competitiveness and consistent economic growth. From a political point of view, modernisation theory asserts that a modern society has a democratically elected government in a multi-party state. Other characteristics of a modern westernized state include effective healthcare and education systems, which are accessible to the entire population as well as well-developed infrastructure in respect of transport and telecommunications. As the mass media would have contributed to the modernisation of a society, one would also expect to see a thriving, free press and well developed mass media. The personal characteristics of the population in a modern society would also be deemed to have advanced from those attributed to “traditional people”. In this respect, individuals would display higher levels of motivation, innovativeness and mutual trust and would be less superstitious, fatalistic and family-oriented than their predecessors. Individuals in a modern society would also have a more sophisticated worldview along with higher aspirations and a greater capacity for empathy in respect of being able to imagine themselves in new places and situations.

QUESTION 2 - As against the Modernisation approach that blamed underdevelopment on internal condition, the Dependency Theory argued that underdevelopment is the result of external condition.
• Explain why Marx’s and Lenin’s consider capitalist expansion, imperialism and western domination as factors that kept the Third World underdeveloped. It is interesting to note that Marx was optimistic about capitalism and viewed it as part of a progressive process that would bring about transformation, modernisation and industrialisation in traditional societies. However, while the capitalist system was able to bring about a measure of modernisation in non-Western, traditional societies, it was by nature profit seeking and expansionist, which led to domination and exploitation of the very societies that it was intended to transform. Capitalism had a dual role of destroying traditional societies and then regenerating or developing them by means of education, political unification, establishment of a free, modern press and building infrastructure. Over time it became clear that Western, capitalist societies achieved and maintained their “development” by means of conquest and exploitation of the less developed societies. The initial rapid improvements in production and communications that were initiated and driven by Western societies left Third World countries with no choice but to capitulate and adopt unfamiliar methods and processes and they faced ruin if they did not conform to the Western model. These imperialistic practices also resulted in manipulation of Third World economies and exploitation of natural resources in order to feed the Western nations’ capitalist expansion processes. Although the capitalist system expanded on a global basis and generated growth and development in several parts of the world, it led to underdevelopment in Third World societies which had not yet fully modernised and were not in a position to compete with dominant Western nations. This imbalance caused by Western domination also led to dependency in Third World societies, which has also resulted in them remaining underdeveloped.
• Explain how cultural and media imperialism contributed to underdevelopment of the Third World. Cultural imperialism refers to the imposition of modern, Western standards, principles and values on underdeveloped Third World countries. First World countries arrogantly expected developing countries to adopt their own ways; naively thinking that simply transferring a civilized cultural model would modernize and develop traditional societies. By ignoring the needs, circumstances, characteristics and indigenous knowledge of traditional communities, the West failed to implement a successful development model and contributed to underdevelopment of the Third World.
Media imperialism was a product of cultural imperialism and came about as a result of media content, ownership and distribution originating in Western countries and the perpetuation of Western notions of culture and education through the Western owned media.
While a few countries in the west dominated the flow of media (news, television, books, magazines film etc.) to the Third World, there was a limited flow (or export) of media from developing countries to the West. This imbalance contributed to continued inequality and resulted in the Third world being dependent on expensive, imported media technology and content. This money could have been better spent on developing other aspects of these countries, or even their own media, which would have been more relevant, beneficial and potentially more profitable. The content of western media is designed for and generally reflects a far more affluent market than exists in the developing world. This can stimulate aspirations that are beyond the means of Third World communities and may result in people spending beyond their means at the expense of basic necessities and family commitments, resulting in debt and continued impoverishment in Third World societies.

QUESTION 3 - Participatory research. • Explain how participatory research differs from traditional research in development The main difference between participatory research and traditional research is that (in participatory research) the participation and involvement of individuals and the community is considered to be more important and fruitful than the gathering of neutral, objective information. Under this model, the people being studied have the opportunity to research, identify and report on their condition or situation rather than being an object of research that will be described and interpreted by a remote researcher or agency. While traditional research provided data and information for researchers, participatory research provides information and learning for participants as well as researchers. Participatory research is dialogue-based rather than driven data-driven, as in the case of traditional research. • Briefly discuss the assumptions of participatory research As participatory communication emphasises the self-management of a communities’ development, it follows that participatory research is also conducted in a way that allows for communities to have a greater role in how they are researched. The focus is on the process being an interactive learning experience for the participants and the researcher, who is involved with the population being researched and tries to empathise and see situations and problems from their perspective. Participatory research is not neutral or unbiased as it is committed to direct social purpose and adds value in respect of findings and implementing those findings. It is assumed that research will follow a dialogical model with significant input from participants and that researchers will not control or manipulate either the process or the findings. Participatory research is assumed to be a problem-solving process, which not only identifies needs or problems but also provides a way to jointly investigate potential solutions and find creative ways to implement relevant solutions. There is also onus on the researchers to ensure that findings or solutions are shared with the entire community, as although people participate, it is not always possible to engage in dialogue with every single member of a community. The findings of participatory research are a valuable source of knowledge, both for and about a community. • Explain the process of participatory research The process of participatory research involves a group of people collectively identifying a problem, analyzing how the problem arose and acting as a group to formulate and implement a solution to the problem. As the process is cyclical and continuous, the people involved may reconvene several times and the individuals involved may be interchangeable in some instances. The process is also described as local and accessible in that it should occur in venues and locations that are convenient and comfortable for all parties concerned.

QUESTION 4 - New information and communication technologies can contribute to development.
• Explain the role of knowledge and information in development
Several reports and forums have emphasized the need for developing countries to increase their knowledge bases by means of investment in education and new information and communications technologies (ICTs) that allow for the easier acquisition and dissemination of knowledge and information. Access to new and less costly ICT has allowed for major advances in distance learning, online education (including healthcare and agricultural information) and commercial transactions, which have benefitted poorer communities, particularly those in rural areas. Besides the acquisition of knowledge and information, there is a need for reliable, up to date statistical data on the developing world so that planning and policymaking can be more effective. It is also vital to consider the sharing of existing indigenous knowledge and practices within communities so that investors and developers can integrate this information into their projects.
• Discuss and explain how the Internet contributes to development in the fields of education and telemedicine Although distance learning is not a new concept (for example, Unisa was established in 1873 as a correspondence learning organisation), the way it is conducted has advanced immeasurably with the introduction of the Internet. In the past, correspondence education was conducted through postal services and although the process was deemed to be satisfactory at the time, and is still used by many students, the Internet allows for instantaneous submission of assignments, access to online study groups or forums to support learning, video conferencing and access to downloadable study material. Education via the Internet means that rural communities have access to decent education without the expense and inconvenience of leaving their remote villages. Rural schools that have access to an Internet connection are also able to extend these benefits to younger children and allow schools to “partner” with schools in urban areas to share learning and offer more up to date information and material. Besides tertiary education and formal schooling, the Internet is a valuable platform for community education in areas such as literacy, basic childcare and healthcare, nutrition, sanitation and social or development projects. Telemedicine would not be possible without the Internet. While telephone lines, microwave and satellite technology are used for transmission of patient data, it is primarily the Internet that has facilitated a reliable, accessible and convenient process for sharing medical data and the remote diagnosis of patients. Rural clinics in developing areas do not have the same access to modern equipment, technology and trained professionals as those in urban developed areas but with access to a telemedicine website and network, primary healthcare is better supported. • Explain what is a telecentre is and what benefits can it have to promote development A telecentre can take several forms (such as a telephone shop, internet café or purpose built community centre) but generally consists of a location that provides affordable (or even free) access to essential ICT services such as e-mail, the Internet and electronic networking as well as telephones and fax machines, printers, scanners and photocopiers. In respect of promoting development, these centres offer access to online education and schooling in remote locations, access to books (for downloading and printing), access to information and support for agricultural, community or small business projects and the ability to send personal or business related messages. As governments and businesses become increasingly “e-focused”, these centres allow remote and impoverished communities the opportunity to conduct transactions electronically so that they can participate in the economy and avail of government services rather than be left behind in terms of development and progress. Telecentres also allow for obtaining urgent medical advice and information on community health care such as illness prevention, which is a vital factor in promoting development.

CONCLUSION This assignment has covered some of the main elements and history of development and development communication in a chronological fashion. The Modernisation approach to development consisted of importing and imposing Western assumptions, standards and technology but made no allowance for actual conditions and circumstances in developing countries. It was superseded by the Dependency Theory, which argued that underdevelopment is the result of external conditions and that cultural and media imperialism contributed to underdevelopment. The later, Participatory process ensured that communication and research were more interactive and inclusive of the community and its input. The final question of the assignment addressed the importance of new information and communication technology (ICT), and the benefits ITC offers in terms of development and development communication.

Sonderling, S. 2008. Intercultural development and health communication. Only study guide for COM2603. Pretoria: University of South Africa.

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