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Communication Theories in a Multicultural World


Clifford G. Christians and Kaarle Nordenstreng

This volume is an up-to-date account of communication theories from around the world.
Authored by a group of eminent scholars, each chapter is a history and state-of-the-art description of the major issues in international communication theory.
While the book draws on an understanding of communication theory as a product of its socio-political and cultural context, and the challenges posed by that context, it also highlights each author’s lifetime effort to critique the existing trends in communication theory and bring out the very best in each multicultural context.
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11 Voice, Citizenship, and Civic Action: Challenges to Participatory Communication



In recent years the world has experienced a resurgence in practices of bottom-up communication for social change, a plethora of agency in which claims for voice and citizenship through massive civic action have conquered center stage in the public debate. This resurgence has sparked a series of questions about how these new calls for social change and their principles and communicative practices are influencing and informing the way participatory communication is conceptualized and practiced by governments, civil society, or other social actors. What underlying notions of participation, civic action, and social change inform the agents of change, be they the new generation of social movements on the one hand, or the established and institutionalized field of communication for social change on the other? These are the questions that drive this chapter.

There are examples of bottom-up processes in the form of social movements across the globe: the Arab Spring, the Indignados movement, the Occupy movement, the Autonomous movement, the use by broader civil society of Ushahidi, the Chilean movement for Education, the Israeli mobilization against price rises, and the many other social movements worldwide. These social mobilizations and collective actions have at least one common denominator: the call for a more inclusive development process in which the unemployed, students, the poor, the youth, or simply the citizens demand not just to be heard, but to have a say on the content and direction of development. ← 179 | 180 →

New digital media are playing a central...

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