The outbreaks of political turbulence around the world have prompted me to re-visit Edmund Burke's masterpiece, Reflections on the Revolution in France ( 1790). In the work, Burke attacks the French Revolution. I remember that when I had to write a term paper about the work in a class on the History of Political Thought in graduate school, I fully expected to hate the Reflections and to debunk it. But it amazed me, and impressed me. First, its eloquence is overpowering. Even now as I leaf through my old copy, the grandeur of the language still moves the spirit. Second, you cannot but be impressed by the prophetic power of Burke's analysis of the French Revolution. For he wrote the Reflections in the early days of the Revolution, yet he was able to correctly predict its path - the deepening violence, the collapse into dictatorship. Now, as a school-boy fan of the French Revolution that got my attention.
The World Region
One of the dilemmas voiced by anti-corruption agencies at the UNODC-CommGAP organized learning event on the role of communication in anti-corruption efforts last November was the challenge of working with the media. On the one hand, anti-corruption agencies understood the importance of media relations. On the other, many of them had had unpleasant experiences with journalists, leaving them frustrated and suspicious of the media profession as a whole.
What's peripheral? In the case of the use of technology in schools around the world, it is becoming increasingly hard to tell.
In many developing countries, for better and/or for worse, the traditional way to approach large-scale ICT procurements is to divide such undertakings into four primary components: hardware; software (which often includes 'e-content'); connectivity; and peripherals. (Thankfully, 'training' is showing up as a fifth component more and more ... although in most instances we are still only talking about 'technical training').
The category of 'peripherals', a catch-all category where one typically finds things like like printers and projectors, is often treated as the poor cousin of the other, 'flashier' components. But this may be changing.
Last month, US Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer spoke in an engaging panel discussion on the role of art and architecture in civic spheres at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. He talked about the design of Boston’s federal courthouse: an effort that strove to create a building that was accessible and inviting to the people, so that they would recognize it as a public space—their space—and use it.
Every Friday, I'm going to try and post a selection of the links from our delicious.com account so you can get a quick snapshot of what we're reading this week. Here goes:
I am asked by the CommGAP team if I would be willing to post a note on the occasion of Jürgen Habermas's 80th birthday. I am grateful for being asked, and especially pleased at the moment of reflection on a remarkable life that this requires.
Of course, his work on the relationship between communication and democratization is widely celebrated. Somewhat ruefully for some of us, since it always seems that one has just finished struggling through an engagement with his latest work when he produces yet another, often in a different field of scholarship: first the public sphere, then reason, then ethics, then law, and most recently religion. But, not to complain. These efforts are all connected together in a system of thought that has the subject of deliberative democracy at its core.
As a global institution, it's no surprise that the World Bank has to create content that can be accessed by a diverse public around the world. Part of those efforts to be truly accessible is to create and translate content into different languages.
"Democratic procedures and public service media are... important correctives to the mistaken trust in the therapeutic powers of unbridled technical expertise... The belief in technocratic solutions... does not properly acknowledge that the language games used to define and portray risk frame the policy process, and in turn govern the attempted regulation of risk. The belief in technocratic solutions is also dangerous insofar as it can bolster the temptations to deal with... risks through dirigiste policies or by resorting to states of emergency and crackdowns on the media. Democracy and public service media are unrivalled remedies for technocratic delusions of this kind. They raise the level and quality of 'risk communication' by guaranteeing the open flow of opinions, risk evaluations and controversies back and forth among individual citizens, academic experts, administrators, interest groups and social movements. Democratic procedures combined with public service media can open up and render accountable the process in which citizens, experts, and policymakers comprehend, estimate, evaluate and deal with the probabilities and consequences of risks."
Photo credit: www.johnkeane.net
London’s Big Issue often features interviews with famous movie stars like Kate Winslet while the latest Big Issue South Africa features a review of a recently released local movie about 1950s apartheid.
Bogota has La Calle, Manila has The Jeepney magazine, and Washington, DC has Street Sense. Similar publications are found all over the world and have one thing in common. They are all written by people who are either homeless or living in vulnerable, temporary housing.
Many of these publications are part of The International Network of Street papers (INSP), a network of 101 street papers in 37 countries on 6 continents. The readership of these papers is at an astounding 30 million globally.