Could Do Better: A Checklist for Participatory Communication for Development.

Weblog, Apr 02, 2007
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Probing questions, a list of dimensions of 'participatory communications' from G.A. Dragon, and even a citation from Illich's To Hell With Good Intentions: "By definition, you cannot help being ultimately vacationing salesmen for the middle-class 'American Way of Life,' since that is really the only life you know." Well, yeah, and I can't help being anything other than an opinionated Canadian with a healthy disrespect for power and control. And the Finns I've seen carry their Finnishness with them, and the Brits their Britishness, and so on. So what do we do when we reach out to another culture? I had to find my own way teaching in First Nations communities. And the main thing I decided was to not try to be something other than what I am. The place where I draw the line is in trying to make other people into images of me (though I have to say, it's really tempting). They have to find their own way - and me, well I'll just be maximally me and they can take whatever they want from that, or nothing, if that's what they want. But I'm not going to pull back, to be less of who I am. I don't see any kind of empowerment in that.
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