International development theories refer to the practice of systematically applying the processes, strategies, and principles of communication to bring about positive social change. Development has been a major theme in communication literature since the 1950s. Many theories emerged in this context. Earlier development discourse focused on how the third world could become more like the first world in terms of social, economic, political, and even cultural frameworks. The concept of development was defined essentially by the first world powers to suit their so-called progressive sensibilities. These sensibilities directed attention toward rebuilding the third world sectors with first world assumptions of development. The obvious markers of development were levels of literacy, extent of industrialization, attention to medical interventions, and a working democratic system of governance. All these ideals were imposed on the third world by the first world through the rhetoric of development. There was only one way of defining development, and it was the first world’s prerogative to do so.

Over time, various definitions of development communication have surfaced that provide a deeper understanding of this phenomenon. Recent dialogue on development communication emphasizes that the objective of any communication for development has to do with privileging the voices of those for whom the process of development is critical. Hence the goal of development communication is to improve the socioeconomic existence of the people in the developing world within a framework of social justice in which their voices can be recognized and respected. In doing so, development communication will serve the people by providing them with decentered control of their communication systems, leading to effective social change.

This entry will first offer a brief history of development by discussing modernization theory and dependency theory. The second section will discuss the role of communication and participation in development theories. Finally, development will be described in colonial and postcolonial contexts.

Littlejohn, Stephen W and Karen A.Floss. (2009). Encyclopedia of Communication Theory.USA:SAGE.

Penanggungjawab naskah :

Gayes Mahestu
Edwina Ayu Kustiawan