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Urban Communication Reader IV

Cities as Communicative Change Agents


Edited By erin daina mcclellan, Yongjun Shin and Curry Chandler

Today, the world is facing climate change, wealth inequality, housing crises, food shortages, mass migration, and now a global health pandemic. Cities are at the heart of both these problems and their solutions. Urban communication scholars are well-poised to examine the change initiatives that are both caused and inspired by such complex problems. This volume provides a collection of urban communication research focused on how examining change through the lens of communication provides unique processual understandings of cities as dynamic sites formed through the interplay between concrete cases and conceptual ideas. The first section, Change through Institutional Intervention, addresses how diverse societal institutions—including policy, regulation, planning, and voluntary arts—interplay with changes in our urban communities. The second section, Change in Place and through Space, explores various ways in which spaces and places are able to transform through communicative practice, specifically focusing on how space and place provide unique frames for communicating change and influencing interaction in cities. The third section, Change through Participation and Engagement, collectively draws attention to the ways that public participation and engagement are utilized in cities in ways that enhance the communication both within and about them, focusing specifically on how this happens globally in teaching and learning environments, community planning partnerships, industrial site redevelopment projects, and approaches to food sovereignty in urban agricultural initiatives.
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8. Talking to Urban People: An Exploration of Farmers’ Social Media Storytelling Strategies: JIN-AE KANG, EAST CAROLINA UNIVERSITY, U.S. & BRITTANY M. W. THOMPSON, EAST CAROLINA UNIVERSITY, U.S.


8. Talking to Urban People: An Exploration of Farmers’ Social Media Storytelling Strategies



This chapter explores how farmer bloggers serve as agents of change with use of social media storytelling strategy, and reduce the urban-rural divide. The study examined farmers’ motives for becoming social media storytellers; the outcomes of such storytelling in fostering dialogues between farmers and publics that go beyond farming and trust in food production; and the role of social media communication in reducing the rural-urban divide. In-depth interviews revealed that the interviewees believed storytelling helps them to keep transparent and accountable on agriculture issues. Interviewees believed that storytelling facilitates dialogue and promotes understanding even when farmers cannot change the perception of urban publics who already have a negative viewpoint on agriculture. Farmers realize that social media storytelling practices expand networks and build solidarity with farmers at the local, regional, and national level. The study also shows how digital media enables publics to use storytelling tactics as a grassroots advocacy tool. The shared stories contribute to conversations that connect urban and rural people and eventually build trust in society.

Keywords: urban-rural divide, social media, storytelling, public relations, dialogues, engagement, advocacy, in-depth interviews and agriculture

Scholars and policymakers have witnessed a widening urban-rural divide as big cities have driven industrialization and created the cultural and political mainstream. Rural America is often left behind in terms of economic development and...

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