Development communication and culture play complex roles in social and economic development. In this course, students review major theories concerning the use of communication and media to promote economic development and social change, beginning with the post‐WWII modernization theorists. Students examine the assumptions of those models that led to the failure of early development programs and the emergence of alternative models. Students also explore the influence of culture on communication in a development context and various approaches to viewing the role of culture on human progress. The course concludes with the integration of these approaches in support of equitable and sustainable development.
Field WorkCountry: Senegal
Day: 1 - Saturday, 31 October
In the past decade, Senegal has progressed significantly both economically and politically as a moderate, democratic, predominantly Muslim secular country in fragile West Africa. However, poor infrastructure, longstanding underinvestment and an inhibiting policy environment continue to challenge growth and equity. Senegal is ranked as 155th out of 187 countries using the Human Development Index. (UNDP HDI 2012) While Senegal’s HDI is above the average for countries in the low human development group, income and gender inequality are significant issues. Dakar is the capital and largest city in Senegal and is the home of several UN, US and NGO development organizations. Therefore investigation into development efforts in Dakar will contribute to a better understanding of the country’s current efforts to enhance quality of life. Representatives from governmental and non-governmental organizations will discuss their efforts to build capacity and focus on key development indicators. In order to understand several points of view on development issues and potential progress, we will also invite other academic and media-focused representatives to share their views. Students will leave with a case-study perspective on the complexity of development and the various actors and perspectives involved. In addition, students should develop a critical thinking perspective on the role of communication and culture in development. Academic objectives: 1. Understand the role that culture, context and communication play in development initiatives. 2. Utilize the case study of Dakar and Senegal to illustrate the complexity and potential of global development. 3. Using critical thinking, develop personal insights into how development efforts could be enhanced through communication and understanding of cultural context. Suggest improvements for the future.