Communication for Social Changemaking: A “New Spirit” in Media and Communication for Development and Social Change?
In pockets of media and communication for development and social change (MCDSC) a distinct set of practices around a worldview emphasizing optimism, chic, creativity, boldness, and “changemaking” is emerging. This trend is in stark contrast with the momentum of our current academic debates exploring the role of communication in the decolonization of MCDSC. This article aims to bring greater critical attention to what I term communication for social changemaking. Through an analysis of selected cases from a sample of program texts spanning 10 years, communication for social changemaking is found to rest on an underlying “spirit” that justifies the employment of capitalist mechanisms for social purposes and a common good. This article argues that there is an urgent need to critically interrupt the assimilation of global capitalist values in MCDSC practice where they undermine social justice goals, and also calls for research to explore how practitioners are both adapting and resisting these discourses.