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Communication Theories in a Multicultural World


Edited By 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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13 Theorizing Development, Communication, and Social Change



Paulo Freire’s life and work were marked by his wanting to democratize the act of knowing in order that people may change the world. Both Freire’s theory and method have definitely contributed to my own understanding of communications as a practice and engagement and to my theorizing of communication for social change. In addition, Peter Golding’s lectures on political economy at the Centre for Mass Communication Research, University of Leicester; Indian social psychologist Ashis Nandy’s always unsettling but deeply intriguing interpretations of tradition and modernity; along with the lifework of an assorted group of activists in India have contributed to my conviction that theory as a framework for understanding the world needs to be conversant with context. The Marxian tradition, too, has offered me the means to reflect on the material basis of exploitation, and my writings on social change, religion, communication rights, and the media have rather unapologetically highlighted theory supportive of change. I have also realized in my journey that no theory is perfect and that the theories best suited to deal with life’s complexities are those that factor in openness and contingency.

Most of my writings on development reflect what I consider as critical engagements with reality. Development remains one of the key challenges of our times, although as an industry, it remains, for the most part, impervious to the pathways to change that have been highlighted in the literature on development. This disjuncture is best reflected in the gaps that exist between...

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