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An Analysis of Participatory Communication for Development: A Social Construction Perspective
Unformatted Document Text:  Participatory Communication for Development 8 Notions of participation and of communication have been linked for quite some time, though definitions of participatory communication have been highly varied. Jacobson (1994) maintains that these “differences in definition and expectations regarding participation [need] not necessarily indicate that participation is unsuitable as a paradigm” (p. 61). “Participatory communication for development” , or PCD, as this perspective has come to be known, draws on both Freire and PAR, but focuses particularly on the role of communication in development. In one definition, Jacobson and Kolluri (1999) indicate that PCD occurs when “source and receiver interact continuously, thinking constructively about the situation, identifying developmental needs and problems, deciding what is needed to improve the situation, and acting upon it” (p. 269). Although there are various other definitions, three key concepts underlie most definitions of PCD. The first concerns the process of participation, which involves the collective investigation and analysis of a problem, generation of solutions, and group action. The influences of both PAR and Freire can be clearly seen in this process, which presumes local participation at every stage of the development process. It is important to recognize that groups will not necessarily move sequentially through these steps, but rather will be continually negotiating all three stages as they strive to solve the problem. A second important element of PCD is the nature of facilitation. PCD requires that development agents act as catalysts for change, and work to create an environment which is conducive to people’s critical realizations. Facilitators of participation must be sensitive to local traditions, and spend extended periods of time living and interacting with local people. Implicit in these requirements for facilitation is a validation of local knowledges. The third key aspect central to definitions of PCD is the requirement that local or indigenous knowledge must occupy a central role in development planning. Influenced by PAR and Freire, PCD considers people as experts in their own realities. As such, with the appropriate catalyst, they are capable of changing their oppressive situations.

Authors: Dare, Alexa.
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Participatory Communication for Development
8
Notions of participation and of communication have been linked for quite some time, though
definitions of participatory communication have been highly varied. Jacobson (1994) maintains that
these “differences in definition and expectations regarding participation [need] not necessarily indicate
that participation is unsuitable as a paradigm” (p. 61). “Participatory communication for development”
, or PCD, as this perspective has come to be known, draws on both Freire and PAR, but focuses
particularly on the role of communication in development. In one definition, Jacobson and Kolluri
(1999) indicate that PCD occurs when “source and receiver interact continuously, thinking
constructively about the situation, identifying developmental needs and problems, deciding what is
needed to improve the situation, and acting upon it” (p. 269).
Although there are various other definitions, three key concepts underlie most definitions of
PCD. The first concerns the process of participation, which involves the collective investigation and
analysis of a problem, generation of solutions, and group action. The influences of both PAR and
Freire can be clearly seen in this process, which presumes local participation at every stage of the
development process. It is important to recognize that groups will not necessarily move sequentially
through these steps, but rather will be continually negotiating all three stages as they strive to solve the
problem.
A second important element of PCD is the nature of facilitation. PCD requires that
development agents act as catalysts for change, and work to create an environment which is conducive
to people’s critical realizations. Facilitators of participation must be sensitive to local traditions, and
spend extended periods of time living and interacting with local people. Implicit in these requirements
for facilitation is a validation of local knowledges. The third key aspect central to definitions of PCD is
the requirement that local or indigenous knowledge must occupy a central role in development
planning. Influenced by PAR and Freire, PCD considers people as experts in their own realities. As
such, with the appropriate catalyst, they are capable of changing their oppressive situations.


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