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An Analysis of Participatory Communication for Development: A Social Construction Perspective
Unformatted Document Text:  Participatory Communication for Development 25 relationally co-constructed, the facilitator focuses on creating a mutually educational/transformational interaction, rather than on trying to influence or affect another person. From this position, the facilitator is “first and foremost a situated interpreter, understander, or ‘sense maker’ engaged in everyday coping . . . . The person is irreducibly relational not individual, social not psychological” (Stewart, 1995, p. 26). With respect to concerns in PCD with indigenous knowledge, a social construction framework is fully consistent with the drive to value local knowledge. To adopt this perspective on local knowledge is to discredit the popular encoding/decoding model of communication. This implies the further development of the theory of PCD will involve eliminating lingering encoding/decoding assumptions about communication processes. In addition, a social construction perspective contributes a critical element in understanding PCD constructions of knowledge. In particular, social construction insists that neither culture nor knowledge should be conceived of, or talked about, as systems imposed on communities/populations. Instead, those involved in PCD must focus on co- constructing new knowledges that validate both local and non-local knowledges in order to best approach problems, inequalities, or restrictions. This study has provided foundations for future work in both the conceptual and practical arenas. From a social construction perspective we are able to provide clearer treatment of the communication processes involved in and central to participation. This analysis has focused on participation without directly treating issues of gender in development. Theories of PCD could be enhanced by feminist theories of development. The feminist perspective would provide a lens for examining inequalities within communities, and further treatment of the intersections between feminism and PCD would allow for a gender-sensitive approach to participation.

Authors: Dare, Alexa.
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Participatory Communication for Development 25
relationally co-constructed, the facilitator focuses on creating a mutually educational/transformational
interaction, rather than on trying to influence or affect another person. From this position, the
facilitator is “first and foremost a situated interpreter, understander, or ‘sense maker’ engaged in
everyday coping . . . . The person is irreducibly relational not individual, social not psychological”
(Stewart, 1995, p. 26).
With respect to concerns in PCD with indigenous knowledge, a social construction framework
is fully consistent with the drive to value local knowledge. To adopt this perspective on local
knowledge is to discredit the popular encoding/decoding model of communication. This implies the
further development of the theory of PCD will involve eliminating lingering encoding/decoding
assumptions about communication processes. In addition, a social construction perspective
contributes a critical element in understanding PCD constructions of knowledge. In particular, social
construction insists that neither culture nor knowledge should be conceived of, or talked about, as
systems imposed on communities/populations. Instead, those involved in PCD must focus on co-
constructing new knowledges that validate both local and non-local knowledges in order to best
approach problems, inequalities, or restrictions.
This study has provided foundations for future work in both the conceptual and practical
arenas. From a social construction perspective we are able to provide clearer treatment of the
communication processes involved in and central to participation. This analysis has focused on
participation without directly treating issues of gender in development. Theories of PCD could be
enhanced by feminist theories of development. The feminist perspective would provide a lens for
examining inequalities within communities, and further treatment of the intersections between
feminism and PCD would allow for a gender-sensitive approach to participation.


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