Thursday, February 14, 2013

GlobalMedia: Development Communication: A History (Marshall Plan, etc.) (U5-P2) Sp13

"Uncle" Wilbur

A Historical Sketch of Development Communication

First a quick overview...

Dr. Wilbur Schramm

According to Rogers, Schramm is the founder of the social science study of communication (late 40s-50s) and key founder of development communication.
  • 1950s: 
  • 1960s: 
    • Schramm: How to help them? His answer: w/ mass media - “the great multiplier.” Need to bring in mass media technology.
  • 1970s: 
    • Many countries implemented mass media programs.
  • 1980s: 
    • 1) Concern with “Neo-imperialism”
    • Hamid Mowlana
    • 2) Mowlana: users of mass media blind to the importance of traditional forms of communication in some societies/cultures. “Technology vs. Tradition” (Mowlana)
  • 1990s: 
    • Use of mass media to aid in development, but w/ caution regarding culture. Example: AIDS/HIV education in radio program in Tanzania & TV soap opera in China (Rogers)
  • 2000s: 
    • New issues and use of new communication technologies
(Sources: based on Mowlana, 1996, 1997, Stevenson, 1993, Rogers, 1997)

Now back to the 40s and 50s...

Coming out of World War II the U.S. was in good shape (economically, politically, etc.), but many of the nations of Europe faced problems.

To get a sense of the problems faced see CNN Perspectives Presents Cold War. (See also background info on this CNN series.)

Some of the series is available online.  As you watch the clips below pay close attention to the Marshall Plan.  What relationship does it have to development communication?

U.S. provided $$ and expertise in "reconstructing" Europe. U.S. foreign policy (lead by Truman) changed isolationism to “active leadership.” The U.S. offered the Marshall Plan* (more on Marshall Plan from CNN).

See the clips 0:00 to 1:20 and from 20:28 to 27:46

Why should the U.S. help European countries after WWII?
  1. humanitarian concerns (White Man’s Burden again?)
  2. stop spread of communism!

Truman Doctrine: to defend freedom & democracy worldwide.

Edward T. Hall
After reconstructing Europe Truman offered the world “the benefits of our [U.S.] scientific advances and industrial progress… for the improvement and growth of underdeveloped areas.”

This was called the Point Four Program. (Director, Edward Hall)
One of the key tasks taken on by Hall was teaching U.S. diplomats intercultural communication skills. The formal study of intercultural communication can be traced back to Hall and this program.  Hall has been called the founding father of intercultural communication study.

The government lacked knowledge on how to develop nations, so they turned to academia. Development theories were developed in economics, psychology, political science, sociology, and communication. For example, Wilbur Schramm offered his theory/approach to development.  By the mid-70s, development programs were recognized as ineffective. Schramm, Rogers and others recognized the faults.

Everett M. Rogers
What was wrong? According to Rogers (1976)
The old way of doing development programs had the following errors:

  1. They assume infinite economic growth, ignore problems like population growth, pollution, etc., and do not take into account the "quality of life."
  2. They emphasize technology and capital rather than labor, thus encouraging economic dependence on advanced countries. Low priority to agriculture.
  3. It blames the developing countries for their failings, ignoring external factors beyond their control.
  4. It takes an ethnocentric (Western) bias by emphasizing the modernization of "traditional" individuals.

(Sources: International Encyclopedia of Communication, "Development Communication," 1989; "Marshall Plan" Britannica Online.].).

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