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Dialogic Communication

Balancing Results-Based Management with People-Based Processes

Paolo Mefalopulos's picture

I decided to postpone the second blog on the ten key issues about (development) communication in favor of an issue that emerged during the XI United Nations Round Table (UNRT) on Communication for Development (C4D).

Dialogic Approaches to Development: Beyond Media and Messages

Paolo Mefalopulos's picture

In the emerging participatory paradigm in development some of the greatest scholars, thinkers and communication practitioners come from developing countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America. One in particular has greatly influenced the field of communication for development, as it has emerged in recent years: Paulo Freire. It is important to acknowledge his influence in this particular branch of communication because he might not be so well known to communication specialists across the board since he is a renowned educator rather than a specialist in communication.

In 1973 Freire wrote an article titled “Extension or Communication”. In that article he clearly illustrated the difference between extension, which can be mostly identified with almost any kind of monologic approach, and communication. That is why in this blog, while referring to Freire’s original analysis, I use the term monologic instead of extension, which he considers closely associated with concepts such as transmission, cultural invasion and even domination. In comparing and confronting the differences between extension/monologic and dialogic approaches, Freire started from a semantic analysis of the terms, moving then to a more operational analysis of the practical implications of the two.