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An Analysis of Participatory Communication for Development: A Social Construction Perspective
Unformatted Document Text:  Participatory Communication for Development 4 indigenous/local knowledge at the center of inquiry/research/directed social change. This re- placement of knowledge is explained by Fals-Borda and Rahman in their 1991 treatment of PAR: An immediate objective of PAR is to return to the people the legitimacy of the knowledge they are capable of producing through their own verification systems, as fully scientific, and the right to use this knowledge . . . as a guide in their own action. (p. 15) The authors explain that once this focus on “people’s science” has been heightened, then the marginalized “are able to participate in the research process from the very beginning” (p. 7). It is important to highlight that although PAR focuses on the research process, its techniques and philosophy are particularly appropriate for discussions of development. PAR relies on a notion of community or communal knowledge, but there is a clear recognition that social change occurs only when there is a balance between action and knowledge. Thus, there are three steps in PAR: a diagnosis of the problem or situation, a reflection upon ideas and solutions, and an implementation of a solution. Individuals engaging in PAR should always be negotiating these steps as they balance action and knowledge. This perspective requires that human beings be understood as active participants in their own realities, and that they be seen as capable of generating solutions to their own problems. Paulo Freire Paulo Freire’s (1970) critique of education is widely recognized as one of the most influential contributions to experiential education, grassroots organizing, and community development. Through his work in adult education, he came to believe that education cannot be understood simply as a transfer of knowledge from a knowledge-full subject/teacher to a knowledge-empty object/student, but as a much more collaborative occurrence, in which both/all actors are figured as subjects. Crucial to this form of education is critical reflection. Freire posits that through dialogue, people may obtain a critical awareness (conscientization) of their own problems/situation/reality, and begin to fashion

Authors: Dare, Alexa.
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Participatory Communication for Development
4
indigenous/local knowledge at the center of inquiry/research/directed social change. This re-
placement of knowledge is explained by Fals-Borda and Rahman in their 1991 treatment of PAR:
An immediate objective of PAR is to return to the people the legitimacy of the knowledge
they are capable of producing through their own verification systems, as fully scientific, and
the right to use this knowledge . . . as a guide in their own action. (p. 15)
The authors explain that once this focus on “people’s science” has been heightened, then the
marginalized “are able to participate in the research process from the very beginning” (p. 7). It is
important to highlight that although PAR focuses on the research process, its techniques and
philosophy are particularly appropriate for discussions of development.
PAR relies on a notion of community or communal knowledge, but there is a clear recognition
that social change occurs only when there is a balance between action and knowledge. Thus, there
are three steps in PAR: a diagnosis of the problem or situation, a reflection upon ideas and solutions,
and an implementation of a solution. Individuals engaging in PAR should always be negotiating
these steps as they balance action and knowledge. This perspective requires that human beings be
understood as active participants in their own realities, and that they be seen as capable of generating
solutions to their own problems.
Paulo Freire
Paulo Freire’s (1970) critique of education is widely recognized as one of the most influential
contributions to experiential education, grassroots organizing, and community development. Through
his work in adult education, he came to believe that education cannot be understood simply as a
transfer of knowledge from a knowledge-full subject/teacher to a knowledge-empty object/student,
but as a much more collaborative occurrence, in which both/all actors are figured as subjects. Crucial
to this form of education is critical reflection. Freire posits that through dialogue, people may obtain
a critical awareness (conscientization) of their own problems/situation/reality, and begin to fashion


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