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Communication and marginal sites: the Chipko movement and the dominant paradigm of development communication

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This article uses the Chipko movement in northeastern India to propose an additional way to think alternatively about communication and development. The Chipko movement took place in the 1970s. Movement members demanded better local resource management by the state and for a greater voice in the determining the use of the local forests. Acknowledging that alternatives to the dominant paradigm of communication and development already exist (the participatory communication models and the participatory action research models), this essay shows even these alternatives did not address certain problems associated with the dominant paradigm. After a brief review of the dominant paradigm and the alternatives this article examines certain dimensions of the Chipko movement, such as the role of movement leaders, resource management, and strategies of communication, and argues that a Chipko-based 'regions in protest' model should take a place among the various models posed as alternatives to the dominant paradigm.

Keywords: Chipko movement; India; development communication; participatory action research; participatory communication

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA

Publication date: March 1, 2008


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