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Communication For Another Development Listening Before Telling Book Review

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Communication For Another Development Listening Before Telling Book Review

Chatterjee, Ashoke

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Authors: Wendy Quarry & Ricardo Ramirez Books for Change/Zed Books, Rs300 In a media-blitzed environment, the ‘development communication’ label is often applied (or misapplied, as this book reveals) to achieving planning objectives through communication expertise. Since the mid-80s, the substitute acronym IEC (Information, Communication, Education) has  been  attached to ‘software’ budgets intended to support the ‘hardware’ of service delivery --- hardware that most decision-makers continue to regard as the guts of development. The authors of this remarkable little book believe differently, their belief captured in the sub-title: ‘Listening Before Telling’. Their understanding is of communication processes, techniques and media that help people toward a fuller awareness of their situation and of options available for change. Using cases from three continents, they demonstrate how communication of this kind can help resolve conflicts, build consensus, and empower people  with knowledge and skills needed to improve their condition as well as their institutions. Listening is revealed as the democratic alternative to top-down dominance, by offering the sharing of power, authority and experience and as the essence of “communication for another development”. Quarry and Ramirez are communicators seasoned in the grind of the development industry. In this timely, practical and simple book, they offer perhaps the first serious effort at helping activists to understand the difference between communication as media use and communication acknowledged as a ...

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