Social Change

Jan Servaes

in Communication

ISBN: 9780199756841
Published online February 2011 | | DOI:
Social Change


In the social and communication sciences, social change has traditionally been associated with “development problems” that occurred in “developing countries.” It is only since the late 1980s and early 1990s that social change has become a global issue. The study of communication for development and social change has therefore been through several paradigmatic changes. From the modernization and growth theory to the dependency approach and the multiplicity or participatory model, the new traditions of discourse are characterized by a turn toward local communities as targets for research and debate, on the one hand, and the search for an understanding of the complex relationships between globalization and localization, on the other hand. The early-21st-century “global” world, in general as well as in its distinct regional, national, and local entities, is confronted with multifaceted economic and financial crises but also social, cultural, ideological, moral, political, ethnic, ecological, and security crises. Previously held traditional modernization and dependency perspectives have become more difficult to support because of the growing interdependency of regions, nations, and communities in the globalized world. The conclusion we can draw from late-20th- and early-21st-century reconceptualizations and reorientations of development and social change is that while income, productivity, and gross national product (GNP) are still essential aspects of human development, they are not the sum total of human existence. Just as this has important implications for the way we think about social change and development, so too does it present opportunities for how we think about the role of communication in development and social change processes.

Article.  16494 words. 

Subjects: Communication Studies

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