The Role of Information Communication Technologies Within the Field of Communication for Social Change

The Role of Information Communication Technologies Within the Field of Communication for Social Change

Jan Servaes (University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61692-818-6.ch015
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Abstract

There is a lot of talk about the ‘newness’ of mobile and wireless Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) these days. What is so ‘new’ about them? And in what way will they solve the still unresolved problems of poverty, inequality and information divides in the world? This chapter takes a bird’s eye perspective and presents a number of observations regarding the role of ICTs within the field of Communication for Development and Social Change (CDSC). All those involved in the analysis and application of Communication for Development and Social Change would probably agree that in essence communication for social change is the sharing of knowledge aimed at reaching a consensus for action that takes into account the interests, needs and capacities of all concerned. It is thus a social process, which has as its ultimate objective sustainable development at distinct levels of society. Communication media and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are important tools in achieving social change but their use is not an aim in itself—interpersonal communication and traditional group media must also play a fundamental role. This basic consensus on development communication has been interpreted and applied in different ways throughout the past century. Both at theory and research levels, as well as at the levels of policy and planning-making and implementation, divergent perspectives are on offer. In this chapter, the author presents a brief overview of the field of Communication for Development and Social Change (CDSC) and elaborates on the role and impact of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for Development and Social Change.
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Summarizing The Field Of Communication For Development And Social Change

There are at least three levels at which we can summarize the field of Communication for Development and Social Change (CDSC): by identifying the different theoretical (1) development and (2) communication paradigms, and (3) by looking at the research priorities in different time periods:

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