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An Analysis of Participatory Communication for Development: A Social Construction Perspective
Unformatted Document Text:  Participatory Communication for Development 23 the notion that knowledge can be “imposed” on a population. No one knowledge system is perfect, but together, people can construct knowledges capable of generating social change. Examining PCD from a social construction perspective provided a framework for examining communication as the central element of this theory. Further development of the co-construction model provided insights into notions of dialogue. Then, in response to Waters’ call for a more focused analysis of PCD, I closely examined three elements of PCD from a social construction perspective to better understand the communication processes involved in the process of participation, the nature of facilitation, and the importance of local knowledge. Implications for Theory and Practice In undertaking this project, I have attempted to clarify the nature of the communication processes involved in development in general and in participatory approaches to development in particular. I have demonstrated how social construction contributes to the systematic elaboration of PCD and to a better understanding of its practice. The theoretical implications of this study will be useful in stimulating future theoretical elaboration, and the practical implications both will provide suggestions for action, and will direct practitioners to additional resources for facilitating participation. Social Construction and Implications for Practice PCD assumes implicitly what Gergen (1999) describes as the “power of language to make new and different things possible” (p. 18), but PCD does not currently treat communication as the primary process in participation for social change. In drawing on social construction, and more particularly on the concept of co-construction in communication, this study has addressed Jacobson and Kolluri’s (1999) call for a “framework explaining specifically what constitutes dialogue and how one might evaluate it as a communication process” (p. 273). Working within a co-construction model of communication, Stewart and Zediker (2000) present dialogue as prescriptive, relational, situated,

Authors: Dare, Alexa.
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Participatory Communication for Development 23
the notion that knowledge can be “imposed” on a population. No one knowledge system is perfect,
but together, people can construct knowledges capable of generating social change.
Examining PCD from a social construction perspective provided a framework for examining
communication as the central element of this theory. Further development of the co-construction
model provided insights into notions of dialogue. Then, in response to Waters’ call for a more
focused analysis of PCD, I closely examined three elements of PCD from a social construction
perspective to better understand the communication processes involved in the process of
participation, the nature of facilitation, and the importance of local knowledge.
Implications for Theory and Practice
In undertaking this project, I have attempted to clarify the nature of the communication
processes involved in development in general and in participatory approaches to development in
particular. I have demonstrated how social construction contributes to the systematic elaboration of
PCD and to a better understanding of its practice. The theoretical implications of this study will be
useful in stimulating future theoretical elaboration, and the practical implications both will provide
suggestions for action, and will direct practitioners to additional resources for facilitating
participation.
Social Construction and Implications for Practice
PCD assumes implicitly what Gergen (1999) describes as the “power of language to make
new and different things possible” (p. 18), but PCD does not currently treat communication as the
primary process in participation for social change. In drawing on social construction, and more
particularly on the concept of co-construction in communication, this study has addressed Jacobson
and Kolluri’s (1999) call for a “framework explaining specifically what constitutes dialogue and how
one might evaluate it as a communication process” (p. 273). Working within a co-construction model
of communication, Stewart and Zediker (2000) present dialogue as prescriptive, relational, situated,


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