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[ecrea] CFA: Communicating Development / Mediating Social Change

Fri Jan 20 17:21:42 GMT 2017

Development in Practice - Special Issue

Guest Editors:

Dr. Linje Manyozo (RMIT University) - (Linje.Manyozo /at/
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

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

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,

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.


Linje Manyozo: (Linje.Manyozo /at/ 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.

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