Power, spaces and capabilities: rethinking communication for development in climate change-related natural resource management : The case of the Ngoyla Mintom projects in Cameroon

Ewoh Opu, Eric (2019) Power, spaces and capabilities: rethinking communication for development in climate change-related natural resource management : The case of the Ngoyla Mintom projects in Cameroon. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the nature and role of communication between various stakeholders in climate change-related natural resource management, precisely the WWF and World Bank Ngoyla-Mintom sustainable forest management projects in East Cameroon. My aim is to interrogate the enduring conceptual dichotomy between modernization and participation in Communication for Development (C4D) theorizing by foregrounding an analytical framework that situates C4D at the intersection of power, capabilities and spaces.

I employ a Foucauldian definition of power as discourse and power as diffused rather than concentrated. I argue that power, by its very character, opens up possibilities for resistance from competing discourses. Resistance is made possible through capabilities that afford social actors the opportunities to contrast and confront their discourses against hegemonic discourses through communication. The tussle of discourses contained in the capabilities approach implies and necessitates spaces: literal or figurative arenas where these conversations occur. Such spaces can be “closed”, “invited” or “organic” and are also products and arenas of power and or resistance. Considering this, I argue that the important question is not whether a given C4D process is participatory or diffusionist/modernizationist. Rather, the critical question is, how does the intersectionality of power, spaces and capabilities influence C4D processes?

Findings from this qualitative study show that communication within the projects is characterised by competing discourses of policy actors and local inhabitants backed by NGOs in which policy advocacy emerges as resistance. In this process, spaces and capabilities feature as important factors in the contest of discourses where on-going communication fits neither the modernization nor the participation mould. I conclude that while modernization and participation may still be relevant for theorizing about C4D, within a development intervention like Ngoyla Mintom, C4D can be multidimensional and contested, participatory at times, media-centric at times and networked with different actors in different spaces at different scales.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of International Development
Depositing User: Gillian Aldus
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2019 10:14
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2019 10:14
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/71369
DOI:

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