Participation and participatory research and development processes are fundamental to communication for development (comdev or C4D) and communication for social change (CfSC) scholarship. Over the past five decades there has been a variety of theoretical approaches, practice-based studies and knowledge bases (e.g. Servaes, 2018; Waisbord, 2018; Melkote & Steeves, 2015; Manyozo, 2012a; Thomas, 2014; Wilkins et al., 2014; Gumucio Dagron & Tufte, 2006; Gumucio Dagron, 2001) that highlight participation as an essential component of inclusive development processes. Over the last decade, we have witnessed many good practices, principles and experience, especially using various digital tools, such as video, radio, internet, collaborative and social media (see Servaes, 2018 and Waisbord, 2018) to harness the benefit of mediated participation and raise the voice of marginalized groups and enable their choices in the development projects.
The COVID 19 pandemic has revealed that digital technology and mediated participation are important and essential in managing C4D projects. However, it has also underscored the various challenges associated with digital participatory practices. For example, the rapid shift to exclusively online communications has presented difficulties for undertaking community engagement activities, leading to further exclusion of marginalized groups, including households and communities with limited access to digital technology. As remote communication increasingly displaced face to face contact during the COVID 19 pandemic, researchers and practitioners have been forced to reconsider the very concept of participation. How has community engagement within C4D and CfSC initiatives transformed, and why does it matter?
This book aims to collect and present insights from scholars and practitioners around the world on the impact of COVID on participatory communication and rural development practices. It will consider how the concept of participation has been transformed by the realities of the pandemic, reflecting on essential principles and practical considerations. It will also look at techniques and approaches adopted and adapted in response to the constraints imposed by lockdowns and the necessity of shifting C4D and CfSC initiatives to exclusively remote interaction. The goal in gathering these insights is to consider what these lessons entail for the future of participatory processes.
Chapters for this Edited Volume will be between 5000-7000 words and will be organized into the following broad areas
Part1: Reflecting on the Participatory Paradigm in Rural Communication Studies
In this part, we will include contributions that focus on historical and theoretical debate of participation rooted in the C4D and CfSC paradigms. The section will also cover contributions that focus on conceptualizing participation in a digital setting, particularly in rural areas.
Part 2: Critical Perspectives on Digital Participation
This section will include contributions that examine critical perspectives on digital participation in agriculture and rural development as we enter a post-COVID era. The chapters will focus on contemporary and emerging challenges, for example social and ethical issues related to deploying online platforms, partnership and civic participation for internet infrastructure, online polarization and marginalization due to emerging threats of misinformation.
Part 3: Practices, Experiences, Cases and Tools
This part will include chapters that focus on experiences, cases and tools related to digital participation. Chapters will cover a range of experiences related to the continuity of C4D and CfSC activities during COVID 19 disruptions. The chapter authors include practitionerreflections on lessons learned as well as what we might expect for enduring changes to participatory practices as the pandemic becomes an endemic, and beyond.
The following is a list of potential topic areas:
· Theoretical and Conceptual Discussions on Participatory research and development in agri-food, natural resource management and environmental communication, with a focus on implications for digitally medicated/remote communication.
· Critical perspectives/experiences/tools/methods related to use of digital media (e.g. social and collaborative media, internet tools and platforms etc.) and traditional media (e.g. radio, video) for knowledge mobilization, agricultural extension and advisory services in areas of agri-food, nutritional and environmental changes and development.
· Critical perspectives/experiences/tools/methods related to use of digital media (e.g. social media, internet etc.) and traditional media (e.g. radio, video) for co-creation, co-design and public engagement in areas of agri-food, nutritional and environmental changes and development.
· Critical perspectives/experiences/tools related to citizen science, crowdsourcing, and open data initiatives in in areas of agri-food, nutritional and environmental changes and development.
· Digitally mediated/Remote communication practices that address equity & inclusion and anti racism, Indigenous issues, labour, etc. in areas of agri-food, nutritional and environmental changes and development.
· Suggest an idea!
Please send a 250 word abstract proposal by December 24th, 2021 to Ataharul Chowdhury Ataharul.firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the subject line of your email, include:
• Digital Communication for Agricultural and Rural Development!
In the body of your email include:
· Chapter title
· Section you are submitting to
Part 1: Reflecting on the Participatory Paradigm in C4D
Part 2: Critical Perspectives on Digital Participation; or
Part 3: Practices, Experiences, Cases and Tools.
Name of author(s), title(s), institution(s), & email addresses.
• We will send out confirmations by January 30, 2022
• First draft of the chapter is expected by June 19, 2022.