Guest Editors: Dr. Linje Manyozo (RMIT University) – [email protected]; Prof. Robin Mansell (London School of Economics)
Theme: Communicating Development / Mediating Social Change
Context: In the aftermath of the 2008 Financial Crash, a group of students at the University of Manchester calling themselves the Post-Crash Economics Society called for a radical rethink of the teaching of economics, specifically, and the social sciences, generally. They argued that alternative theories, practices and reflections are needed to provide an intellectual antidote to mainstream and classical theories and approaches. This includes the theory and practice of development. This special issue of Development in Practice will include papers offering a radical rethink of the theory, practice and pedagogy of communication for development. The aim is to rescue the discourses and approaches from westernization, theoretical elitism, and the ‘developmentalism’ of dominant organizations and institutions. This is in line with celebrating the ‘ethnography of development’ (Mosse 2005; Escobar 1995) and offering pathways for capturing and celebrating subaltern and periphery experiences and theoretical frameworks.
Since the 1940s when expansive development interventions were launched the world over in the aftermath of WWII, concerns have been raised by scholars, practitioners and community members about the involvement of local people and communities in imagining, conceiving and implementing development interventions that meet their needs. The theory and practice of communication for development emerged within this context, initially, as a trajectory for communicating knowledge products from research institutes to end users, and then as a participatory process of engaging groups and institutions in designing and implementing realistic, sustainable and effective development interventions. Communication for development is no longer about informing people about their development needs. It is about producing development together, about deliberative development premised upon relational processes rather than the acceptance of skewed power dynamics, and about communicating development and the mediation of social change.
Focus: For this special issue, we are soliciting papers that acknowledge that development theory, practice and training can be opened up to critical communication thinking, and especially to cultural theory. This is because the implementation of interventions is increasingly being mediated by communication and knowledge facilities, including digital technologies. It is inconceivable to think of everyday relations and practices, including development theory and practice, without considering the role of the media and communication tools and organisations. This special issue welcomes papers that interrogate how media and communications are shaping the construction of the discursive imaginary of development, and how the changing practice of development, itself, is shaping the mediation processes. It also welcomes papers that address the political economy of communicative spaces and actions. This is imperative in order to break down barriers of access and participation so that the majority of citizens can contest the production of power relations in ways that can shape deliberative development. The success of development interventions is influenced by factors such as access to and control of the media and digital technology as well as by gender, literacy or class. International development organisations also play a major role in shaping the agenda of development and social change, giving rise to concerns about whose development they are really interested in. This raises issues as to whether the western-centric, technologically-deterministic and capital intensive, modernist model of development will continue to be applied in ways that widen the gap between centre and periphery, or whether, as Escobar (1995) observes, it is time to discard development as a discursive imaginary.
Theoretical engagement: Contributing authors will be encouraged to reflect theoretically on the field of communication for development and to examine how various financial, social and political factors challenge the way development, citizenship, empowerment and social change are treated in the area of practice or policy which they address. Papers will offer critical perspectives on why communicative spaces are fundamental to the policy and practice of development and on how factors such as gender, class or ethnicity should be considered in development dialogues. They will also be encouraged to assess the debates that shape the communication of development discourse, especially efforts to de-westernise communication for development theory, training and practice. This may include considerations of other ways of knowing and theorising the world, investment and business thinking, social and behaviour change perspectives in the communications field, the political economy of communication policy, or issues arising with Chinese investment in development cooperation, trade and tax policies.
Papers should address one or both of two key themes:
Theme 1: Communicating development in practice
Papers may be informed by case studies and will reflect on development in practice. In addition to a theoretical contextualization, an emphasis on history, lessons learned and opportunities for the future will be welcome. Topics may address, but are not restricted to, ICTs for development, information intervention, NGOs and agenda setting, humanitarian and crisis communication, climate change communication, and media development.
Theme 2: Discourse and Practice in Formal Policy for Development
Papers are encouraged that address the role of prominent development agencies – international, regional or national – in perpetuating dominant discourses and modes of encouraging local participation, especially where social media and mobile phones play a role in supporting services aimed at poverty alleviation. Papers should be located in the relevant literatures that critique policy making discourse and practice.
Expressions of Interest
Abstracts in English (500 words) should be submitted by email by 28 February 2017.
Abstracts should describe the proposed paper in as much detail as is necessary to give an idea of the contribution. It should include a clear statement of the objective(s) of the paper; where appropriate, a description of the method(s), a short explanation about why the research is novel and a summary of the argument/results. You may submit a full paper if you wish.
You will be notified by 17 March 2017 about whether we encourage you to submit a full paper if you have submitted an abstract (maximum length 6,500 words excluding tables and captions) or whether we invite you to strengthen a paper you have submitted. If we encourage you to submit a full paper, this does not guarantee acceptance. Papers will be refereed by the special issue editors and by a referee selected by Development and Practice.
Deadline for submitting final papers: 16 June 2017.
See Instructions for Authors for details on preparing your manuscript, http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/cdip20/current
You will be notified when the refereeing process is completed. If your paper is accepted, accepted with minor or major revisions, or rejected, you will receive referees comments and, in the case of revisions, guidance from the special issue editors about how to strengthen your paper.
You are encouraged to contact the special issue editors for advice on how to approach your contribution.
Development in Practice offers practice-based analysis and research relating to development and humanitarianism providing a worldwide forum for the exchange of ideas and experiences among practitioners, scholars, policy shapers, and activists. By challenging current assumptions, and by active editorial engagement with issues of diversity and social justice, the journal seeks to stimulate new thinking and ways of working.
Contact: Linje Manyozo: [email protected] is the single email point of contact, but your submissions will be seen and reviewed by both special issue editors.
Escobar, A. 1995. Encountering Development: The Making and Unmaking of the Third World. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press.
Mosse, D. 2005. Cultivating Development: An Ethnography of Aid Policy and Practice. London: Pluto Press.