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An Analysis of Participatory Communication for Development: A Social Construction Perspective
Unformatted Document Text:  Participatory Communication for Development 14 prescriptive approach to dialogue is especially useful because it “can serve as an ideal toward which communication may fruitfully move in many different contexts, including . . . teacher-student and peer relationships in education . . . and citizen deliberative relationships in politics” (pp. 228-9). Stewart and Zediker’s prescriptive approach is consistent with the centrality of dialogue to the process of participation. In developing the characteristics of a prescriptive view of dialogue, the authors assert that it is situated, relational, and tensional. That is, dialogue is situational as it “can be enhanced or blocked by time available, exigencies of space, presence or absence of an audience, role definitions, and cultural norms” (p. 230). It is relational because it happens between persons, and as such, no one person ultimately controls its occurrence. Because of the situated, relational nature of dialogue, it is “impossible to offer a technology of specified ‘moves’ that will guarantee that an encounter will be dialogic” (p. 231). In explaining the tensional nature of dialogue, the authors highlight the tension of “letting the other happen to me while holding my own ground” (p. 234) as the fundamental tension: The other happens to me while and as I hold my own ground, and as a result, she happens to me-as-occupant-of-a-position. I hold my own ground in the light of the other’s happening to me, and as a result my position is fundamentally-influenced-by-the-other. (p. 234) The authors believe that a focus on the tensional both/and nature of dialogue increases the likelihood that dialogue will occur. In addition, participants to a dialogic interaction must be capable of making “choices between and among multivocal, tensional perspectives and assertions, [for] as praxis, dialogue involves the processes of making and evaluating moral judgments about and through communication” (p. 240). It is through making such choices that participants achieve “a kind of collaborative and emergent engagement that can be widely fruitful” (p. 240). Freire’s focus on critical thinking as a key element in dialogue seems particularly appropriate when viewed within the context of this fundamental tension.

Authors: Dare, Alexa.
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Participatory Communication for Development 14
prescriptive approach to dialogue is especially useful because it “can serve as an ideal toward which
communication may fruitfully move in many different contexts, including . . . teacher-student and peer
relationships in education . . . and citizen deliberative relationships in politics” (pp. 228-9). Stewart
and Zediker’s prescriptive approach is consistent with the centrality of dialogue to the process of
participation.
In developing the characteristics of a prescriptive view of dialogue, the authors assert that it is
situated, relational, and tensional. That is, dialogue is situational as it “can be enhanced or blocked by
time available, exigencies of space, presence or absence of an audience, role definitions, and cultural
norms” (p. 230). It is relational because it happens between persons, and as such, no one person
ultimately controls its occurrence. Because of the situated, relational nature of dialogue, it is
“impossible to offer a technology of specified ‘moves’ that will guarantee that an encounter will be
dialogic” (p. 231). In explaining the tensional nature of dialogue, the authors highlight the tension of
“letting the other happen to me while holding my own ground” (p. 234) as the fundamental tension:
The other happens to me while and as I hold my own ground, and as a result, she happens to
me-as-occupant-of-a-position. I hold my own ground in the light of the other’s happening to
me, and as a result my position is fundamentally-influenced-by-the-other. (p. 234)
The authors believe that a focus on the tensional both/and nature of dialogue increases the likelihood
that dialogue will occur.
In addition, participants to a dialogic interaction must be capable of making “choices between
and among multivocal, tensional perspectives and assertions, [for] as praxis, dialogue involves the
processes of making and evaluating moral judgments about and through communication” (p. 240). It is
through making such choices that participants achieve “a kind of collaborative and emergent
engagement that can be widely fruitful” (p. 240). Freire’s focus on critical thinking as a key element in
dialogue seems particularly appropriate when viewed within the context of this fundamental tension.


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