You are on page 1of 17

A Critical Paper Analysis in Development Communication CA 213

The Duality in Development: Recasting Participatory Communication in Development Using Structuration Theory By Ketan Chitnis

Submitted by: Guzman, Rachel Joy Y. 4CA3

Submitted to: Asst. Prof. Gwenetha Pusta

Upon reading the article, having numerous thoughts in mind and pondering what to expect about Dualism, Participatory Communication and Structuration Theory it is best to flesh out some parts of it and try to understand fully what it is all about. First off, by defining what a social issue really is. A social issue or a problem is a demand that some condition, set of events, or group of persons establishes an arduous situation that is needed to be altered. It could actually be any number of things. Defining a condition as a social problem, finding a solution and making follow-ups upon preventing the problem in a certain manner usually are not easy tasks to fulfill. But a condition is not a social problem unless it is seen as contravening certain values and beliefs about how society should set. Working on an agreement about whether a condition opposes these values and beliefs can be difficult to acquire.

A social problem is a socially constructed way of seeing definite situations that fills in the claim to change through public actions. Hence, a social problem is not different from the day to day communication of citizens in a society. Neither is it different from the operations, goals, and objectives of social institutions. The process of building up the idea of a "social problem" also defines and supports what is accounted to be a standard for social conditions, and that is, defining a condition as a social problem also identifies what society accepts being the right way to do things. It must be clear that an individual is responsible for such inappropriate behaviour in a society. An interpretation of a social problem as completely being related to individual inadequacy, takes the risk of putting attention away from institutional arrangements that contribute to the rate of individual misconduct. Recognizing institutional or cultural determinants of disturbed behaviour requires the development of concurrence that social institutions or culture are flawed in some

manner. Citizen consensus must assist some claims about social problems for existing social arrangements are insufficient. In analyzing social problems, we must take part to the conflict underlying the definition of the problem. Taking social problems closer to the study of how social movements affect and are affected by the interpretations, language and the symbols that builds into seeing a situation as a social problem is the moral. To see social problems is not only recognition of a given situation but also it is an appeal to see social problems as a process of designation. Fleshing out Participatory Communication leads to this. “Participation” has always been the theme of arguments in the development field. Moreover, setting goals for social change have not been fully discussed through participatory communication. Participation "may not sit well with those who favour the status quo and thus they may be expected to resist such efforts of reallocation of more power to the people." (Lozare, 1994). Therefore, development and participation insurmountably relates. Participation in the communication systems imposes a supreme level of public understanding.

It includes the control and planning of communication systems as well as the knowledge of the public in the production procedure. Participation towards the public in decision making may be no more than consultation and representation. Participation even has its most advanced form, which is self-management. With this circumstance, the public is fully into the articulation of communication plans and policies. All these ideas are significant for it is extensively an accepted communication theory, where in it involves access and participation.

Through recent years, participatory communication‟s scope has richly expanded. In addition to development communication, numerous practitioners have tried to accumulate experiences from other fields. Longer than expected, these practitioners have administered towards the beginning of a long overdue setting of expertise in the academic, development and communication sectors. The academic, development and communication sectors even have tremendous of experiences offered. Instead of providing answers to the tremendous of intricateness which pushes participatory processes, it has proven to depict multiple questions. Numerous development communication researchers and practitioners supposed that they found in participatory communication the most suitable concept to balance workload of their own in countries on their way to development mostly of more experimentation and after two decades of development.

Nevertheless, it has already been proven that it is a concept that promotes critical application. We are not even halfway from interpreting fully these notions to practice. This remains a challenge to researchers working along with practitioners as well that should be caught up.

Along are only but a few crucial considerations which this cooperation between researchers and practitioners should ace to examine and comprehend:

Preconditions: What are the preconditions, if ever this is true, of communities being located in a better place than others because of harmonious conditions to exercise fully participatory communication?

Leadership: participatory communication often sticks to the lighter side when handled by the ones with authority. They are often called the head of the group who possess special

characteristics which fosters participation. If so, what are these qualities and how can they be learnt?

Conflict: is often a derivation of participation. How does one contrive and figure it out? What are their causes?

Impact: when the supremacy of participatory processes based on traditional communication systems takes over

Appropriate application: A specific participatory communication method is best expected when and for what objectives?

People's cost: participation is perceived to be “costly” to the people being involved, where does their fair share and resources go in which they invest in a participatory communication program in order to make it happen?

External funding: authentic projects are proposed to be too weak in management even in design to enhance dynamic participatory processes. What can be the most suitable mode of funding? Concentrating on funding, what and where should donors give full attention to?

Structuration Theory, per se by Anthony Giddens states that social life is more than random individual acts, but is not merely determined by social forces. Structure is defined by Giddens as rules and resources, organized as properties of social systems.

Giddens theory of structuration is a sociologic one. For this, the main concern is the relationship of the society and the individual. Social caution is not the fruit of structure or agency alone, but both. Objective social structures are defined by properties of society as a whole and autonomous human agents are defined as properties of the individual (Giddens, 1984). He states that interaction and structure are jointly essential duality.

The figure above shows signification, domination and legitimating which are the three dimensions of structure. Communication, power and sanctions are said to be the three dimensions of interaction. Modalities, by which structures are interpreted into actions, are stated to be the interpretive schemes, facilities and norms. Interaction can be thoroughly explained through these modalities.

Setting details aside, the production of meaning refers to the first dimension (e.g. a person wearing a navy uniform has the role of an army), degrees of power as the second (e.g. a fire man‟

uniform allows them to put down fire wherever it might be) and societal norms as to the last one (e.g. ball gowns or cocktail dresses during school dances). Summarizing it, structure is organized from the start and is something that can be prepared for. According to Giddens, they are allocate and authoritative resources, and social and formulated rules. Modality makes interaction easier, can be treated as the tools and can be influenced throughout. Communities for example, are the result that social interaction is persuaded by structure and the three modalities interpretive schemes, facilities and norms. The interpretive scheme translates structure into actions. Based on the given article, in Structuration Theory, there is a duality as opposed to a tension or dualism between individuals and the social structure. As a result of the duality, the structural properties in a social system can serve as both enabling and constraining forces. This offers a theoretical framework against which participatory communication for development can be investigated. If we can understand how participation through communication can be achieved between the outsiders (national and international development experts) and the community despite the larger structural constraints to participation it could have a meaningful impact on future development projects. Structuration provides us the language to understand how communities can have some land of control over their lives as proposed by the participatory communication literature and hereby informs us how social change can be achieved. It is also concluded that structuration theory, involving participatory communication for development, seeks to understand how people can negotiate social change within the existing institutional structure they operate in. it also provides us the language to recast main concepts in participatory communication such as knowledgeable agents, dialectic of control and power and domination to help understand the process of social change. Structuration theory also explains

how institutional forces can act as both facilitators as well as pose constraints to the process of change. Going back to participatory communication, the article explains that involving individuals and communities through a process of empowerment in development projects aimed for them has goals specified: to identify the community‟s problems, provide the necessary resources, information on skills to overcome the problem and in turn allow people to gain control over their lives. Participatory communication for development further pushes that development programs would be relevant and effective if people are actively involved in the programs being held. In line of analyzing participatory communication, there are two used theories to help demystify it. First is the communicative action, where in participatory communication as action oriented toward understanding and second is the communitarian theory, stating that it is a preservation of the community and emancipation from oppressive structures and external dependencies. This analysis attempts to explicate participatory communication for development from a theoretical lens that can inform us how societal systems can overcome the tensions caused by the structural problems that impede the process of social change. The main goal for this is to demonstrate how Gidden‟s thesis of the duality of structure applies to the participatory communication paradigm and how through the structuration theory concepts we can extend our understanding of the process of development as a duality, as opposed to it being an individual or institutional level social change process.

Participatory Communication Conscientization Empowerment Power

Structuration Theory Knowledgeable Agents Dialectic of Control and Power Domination

Conscientization relating to knowledgeable agents for structuration theory: Through active participation and dialogue, communities can help identify their needs and fix them with the available resources and thus use and create their own knowledge. (Arnst, 1996) Philippines, our country are faced with numerous social issues that have gained extreme force not being able to see in the past. In different levels, the issues have exposed the fact of the Philippines being divided according to values and beliefs. The Philippines faces itself with an agreement but is still unsure of whether the same rule needed for the Filipinos could be applied having a society composed of plentiful islands, different languages, races, cultures, religions and even political belief. Having a number of casualties and problems in our country, there is a point in saying that somehow active participation and dialogue isn‟t fulfilled well. There are agencies that still decide for Filipinos though they still give them the benefit of the doubt to decide on their own. These decisions made by some aren‟t similar most of the time to what the government or the agency really wants. It depends really on how a situation is perceived, interpreted and if the decision most Filipino wants is feasible enough to happen. But at times there is a brighter side to this. Us Filipinos are known to be great

pursuers of what we want to happen. Change is inevitable for people like us. More often than not, we are yet to be defined as knowledgeable agents. Empowerment to Dialectic of Control and Power: In the field of social change, the concept of empowerment of people has largely been the goal of professionals in the field of community organizing, education and community psychology, which the development agencies have borrowed and applied to larger national development objectives. (Melkote and Steeves, 2001) Community empowerment may lead us to a lot of definitions which make both concept and application problematic, confusing and by no choice, meaningless. Here are some of its assumptions:
  

An existing understanding of what empowerment really means Community empowerment is similar to individual empowerment Public sector demands and targets will be met if communities cooperate with public agencies

Communities are homogeneous and that anything to do with „community‟ is inherently good

Research proves that a lack of empowering approaches in the past may have left a legacy of people, and communities were left feeling disillusioned, cynical, angry, and confrontational and the like. Community empowerment works in ways which empower people – ways which mean that people feel „confident‟, that they – and the groups they are involved in –

are inclusive and organised, that networks are formed, are cooperative and support each other and – ultimately – they are influential.

To what extent do the power elite in the Philippines represent a relatively closed and selfperpetuating social class? Filipinos to be exact are empowered, as we have the agency to withdraw upon subsisting rules and resources in the social system to offset or struggle the dominant actors. Applying the concept of dialectic control, all humans practically have the agency to fight the oppressed because even the weak can withdraw on the rules and even resources in the social system versus the superior. Power to Domination: Allocative resources refer to the transformative capacity of generating command over material phenomenon such as the economic institutions and authoritative resources refer to transformative capacity of generating command over people such as political institutions or collectives of powerful elites in a social system. (Giddens, 1984) Since these modes of domination exist in all social systems, it is not sufficient to simply empower people by recognizing their knowledgeability and capacity to bring out about change. There needs to be dialogue between the people in power and the community members for social change to occur. It is within this context that we need to examine how power is accounted for in participatory development. Concepts of power and domination are very much alike that there is no possible way of separating it without linking it to each other. Visible forms of power and domination is not only questionable today, but also in the previous systems. Power and domination were unquestionable even before, not only in modern forms of societies that we live in today.

Individuals per se can even trace the relations of power and domination themselves and also even authorities and individuals. The main difference of power and domination may be in the tools and comprehensions that make significance, though both relations, most likely, may be on the same track in respect to their association, especially the binding relationship of the state and society.

Power-over is the most subtle kind of power. This is the power of control and domination, the one that seeks one-sided ruling. Power-over is insatiable, takes whatever is there and doesn‟t choose whether it is right or wrong. It dies or it expands, extends itself wherever and whenever it can and even crushes the weak.

The founding of civilization blossomed upon the development of power-over. Domination and control are two of the defining characteristics of civilization, resulting to our present problems. In the last century, two trends: the increase in cultivation of technology and the increase in widespread global organization (domination mentality products) have given POWER the equipments to push in dominating and manipulating as it never happened before.

Relating in the Philippine context, politicians love power-over. These people are in dire need of controlling the lives of almost the population, for they know that that is just one of their many capabilities. Nevertheless, it is the politician‟s responsibility to make a pleasing image and make us believe that they are fully into assisting people, making the world pleasurable enough to live in and even good enough in carrying out the will of their constituency. Where

in fact, there is only goal of all these politicians, and that is to acquire more power. More power for the sake of power. Power for the thrill of obtaining it.

Like any other love like love for the arts, music or literature, love of power to a politician also has an end unto itself. The brains of most politicians are corrupted with the lust for power-over and deserve our utmost repugnance. In the Philippines, abhorring politicians is known widely. Thus, this is a good thing, perhaps it is an indication that we are beginning to understand the poisonous nature of power-over.

The paper argues that development communication in general and participatory communication in particular is not theoretically grounded but is a result of multiple theories and models. Development as a social change process is possible only when understood as a totality and not an individual level phenomenon. Participatory communication for development, which emphasizes empowerment of people through dialogic communication, would be more effective if the change agents and community members are able to bring about changes in the structures of domination.

Participatory research can all too easily be utilized as being another tool of yet another manipulation by vested interests. While the approach strives towards empowerment, challenges existing structures, and is consequently ideological, rigidly prescribed ideologies must be avoided. Duality in the Philippines so far, I think won‟t work. Because basing it from the last sentence above, “Participatory communication for development, which emphasizes empowerment of people through dialogic communication, would be more effective if the change agents and

community members are able to bring about changes in the structures of domination.” Filipinos are known to be more of “palaban” and not even having a dialogic communication with change agents would work. Filipinos are a rare breed. Their persistent and consistent fighting spirit especially during bad times is admirable. So when an issue usually arises, Filipinos are all out and about when giving their stand. There may be a fair share of giving out of opinions, but what they normally stand for always contradicts what agencies would say. But with what I‟m saying may, or may not be essential unlike the article that was stated. My opinion doesn‟t have to raise any objective; it is just what I see towards the end of writing this paper. Setting opinions aside, let me just quote a few things that struck me about the article. In participatory communication, communication is not a linear process of information being sent from sender to receiver, but an act of meaning making which is possible by co-presence and inter-subjectivity between the sender and the receiver. The duality of structure helps explain that participation aimed solely at an individual, as operationalized in many participatory development interventions, cannot result in sustainable social change due to the larger structural forces. The duality in development is recognition of the interdependence between the people that are oppressed and the people in power.

At an applied level, the duality in development hypothesis could be tested by analyzing data from communities practicing participatory communication. Structuration theory informs us that actors and institutions interact at three different levels: discourse, domination and legitimation. These levels ofinteraction could be analyzed to understandhow participatory communication can contribute to individual level liberation (Freirean principles) within the

context of institutional change (Gidden‟s principles), which together results in sustainable development of people and societies.

"Humans are not born as oppressed but instead, humans adapt to the structure of domination." –Freire.


Chinis, Ketan. The Duality in Development: Recasting Participatory Communication for Development Using Structuration Theory. Retrieved December 16, 2013 Assigned reading

Gauntlett, David (2002), Media, Gender and Identity: An Introduction, Routledge, London and New York. Retrieved December 16, 2013 from

Gusfield, Joseph. How Do We Decide What are Social Problems? Retrieved December 16, 2013 from

Journal of Asian and African Studies, Vol.6, No. 3-4 (July and October 1971) Power in the Philippines: How Democratic is Asia’s First Democracy Retrieved December 15, 2013 from Participatory Communications in Development and Humanitarian Contexts, Retrieved December 18, 2013 from Participatory Communications for Social Change: A movement building or organizing approach to communications, Retrieved December 15, 2013 from Phang, Natalie. Structuration Theory and the Assessment of Technology, Retrieved December 16, 2013 from

Power and Domination According to Weber and Foucault June 3, 2011 Retrieved December 19, 2013 from Servaes, Jan. Participatory Communication (Research) from a Freirean Perspective, Retrieved December 19, 2013 from /jamr010001006.pdf Turner, Jonathan. Review Essay: The Theory of Structuration, Retrieved December 19, 2013 from Wikipedia. Duality of structure, Retrieved December 17, 2013 from Wikipedia. Participatory Development Communication Retrieved December 15, 2013 from