Development communication and participation: Applying Habermas to a case study of population programs in Nepal

Thomas L. Jacobson, J. Douglas Storey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

One conceptual problem associated with analyzing participatory communication for development is the lack of clear definitions; another concerns scale. The participation literature tends to limit itself to processes at the village level, yet certain kinds of change require the involvement of large-scale organizations and support from the state. This article addresses these problems using Jürgen Habermas's theory of communicative action with a focus on the concepts of "ideal speech" and the "public sphere." The theory is applied to a case study of a population communication program carried out by the government of Nepal with the support of USAID and international aid organizations. The ongoing program provides empirical evidence of the usefulness of this conceptualization of participatory communication that can potentially provide analytic leverage in relation to both small- and large-scale programs of social change, as well as guide operationalization of key elements of communicative action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-121
Number of pages23
JournalCommunication Theory
Volume14
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language

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