SOAS University of London

Centre for Global Media and Communications

Studies in Media, Information Communication Technologies and Development

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Taught in:
Term 1

This course provides an introduction to the history of debates around the relationship between media and development. The course challenges the assumptions behind the media and development industries, as well as development studies, and offers new ways of addressing and analyzing about these issues. The approach balances critical theoretical analysis of the hegemony implied by the ideas and practices of development with the practical issues surrounding the use of contemporary media, including notably digital technologies, for a range of developmental purposes.
The core course interrogates critically the presuppositions of ‘development’ itself as an articulation which legitimizes a particular, hierarchical vision of the world and disarticulates alternatives. ‘Development’ privileges an economistic world view and downplays the importance of social and cultural change, in which the media are not just instruments of furthering the agenda of modernization but articulate and constitute a vibrant public discussion and commentary, which is by no means confined to the public sphere or civil society.
Reference is made to a range of old media and new Information Communication Technologies including radio and mobile telephony that are utilised in a variety of ways to address specific kinds of development-oriented issues, including health, literacy and gender empowerment and sustainable livelihoods. The emerging practices of e-finance, e-government are introduced and the course explores the various participants and interests involved in creating development policies.

This half course unit cannot be taken by students registered for the MA Media and Development Studies

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

• Acquire an informed insight into the theories to do with media and Development
• Understand the key debates about Development
• Develop the skills needed for further independent research, writing and thinking about issues on Development in the present context


The module will be taught over 10 weeks with one 1 hour lecture and one 1 hour tutorial per week

Scope and syllabus

• Modernity and Development
• Media and Imperialism
• The Other in Development Theory
• Decoding Development
• Visual representation and Development
• Journalism and Development
• Relationship of NGOs and Media
• Imagining an Audience
• Empowerment and Community Media
• Gender and Media

Method of assessment

Assignment one – Book review (500-800 words); 25%
Assignment two (2500 words); 75%

Suggested reading

Bebbington, al, 2008, Can NGOs Make a Difference?: The Challenge of
Development Alternatives.
Bounemra K. et al, 2004, Africa Networking: Development Information, ICTs and
Castells, al, 2006, Mobile Communication and Society: A Global Perspective
Coyne, C. and P. Leeson,, Media, Development, and Institutional Change
D’Costa, Anthony 2006, The New Economy in Development: ICT Challenges and
Dutta, S. et al, 2006, The Global Information Technology Report 2005-2006: Leveraging
ICT for Development (World Economic Forum Reports)
Gumucio-Dagron, A. and T. Tufte, eds, 2006, Communication for Social Change:
Anthology of historical and contemporary readings
Hemer, O. and Tufte, T. eds, 2005, Media and Global Change: Rethinking
Communication for Development
Herman Wasserman, Popular Media, Democracy and Development in Africa, Routledge
Melkote, S. and Steeves, H. L. (2001) Communication for Development in the Third World: Theory and practice for empowerment, New Delhi and Thousand Oaks CA: Sage
Servaes, J (ed.) (2008) Communication for Development and Social Change. New Delhi, Thousand Oaks, CA and Singapore: Sage.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules