Rediscovering the Latin American Roots of Participatory Communication for Social Change Articles uri icon

publication date

  • June 2011

start page

  • 154

end page

  • 177


  • 1


  • 8

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1744-6708

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1744-6716


  • The history of communication theory for social change has tended to adopt a Westernizing and colonial perspective when describing its origin, evolution and main paradigm shifts, as a US and European contribution complemented with peripheral ideas from other world regions - Latin America and, to a much lesser extent, Asia and Africa. All of the ideas from the periphery were underestimated, if not considered ideological or political disputes and, consequently, non-scientific. Despite this lack of recognition, the Latin American legacy to communication for development and social change constitutes one of the main theoretical frameworks for building a more complex, participatory and democratic communication paradigm. Some of the first proposals of Latin American communication scholars in the 1970s and 1980s shared similar ethical/political aims. These involved a grassroots and critical basis and, above all, a constant a constant attention to praxis as the core of a new way of thinking, researching and planning communication


  • social change; communication; information theory; community development; social development