Memory for Development : Amnesia, xenophobia and participatory communication in a South African context

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Memory for Development : Amnesia, xenophobia and participatory communication in a South African context

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Publication Conference Paper, other
Title Memory for Development : Amnesia, xenophobia and participatory communication in a South African context
Author(s) Hemer, Oscar
Date 2015
English abstract
Memory work, understood as the making public of memory, has not been a priority for Communication for Development, in spite of the fact that ‘conflict resolution’ has lately become one of the most important areas of ComDev practice. The mediation of social and political conflict is largely about the mediation of public memory – mediation understood as both literal peace broking and what Roger Silverstone (2008) defines as ‘actively creating a symbolic and cultural space in which meanings are created and communicated beyond the constraints of the face to face’. The prevailing conception of development implies a notion of progress, but this very idea is refuted by the dual impossibility of both continued economic growth and its reversal, ‘degrowth’ (Eriksen, in Hansen, Hemer and Tufte, 2015). If structural amnesia is a distinct feature of global modernity, then memory work may become not only a resourceful and future-posing activity but the very processor of social transformation. The paper forms part of a pre-study for a larger research project which attempts to develop a meta-theory of Communication for Development. Such meta-theory ought to accomplish two things: (1) conceptualise the history and field of ComDev research; (2) contextualise ComDev in the social sciences and humanities. The purpose of (1) is to integrate ComDev as a research field in its own right. The purpose of (2) is to define and refine the theoretical context of ComDev, with regard to specific concepts like agency, memory, justice, hope and social change—themes discussed during the four Ørecomm Festivals (2010-2014)—and thereby also systematise its connections with related research fields. The subtheme of Memory has specific relevance for participatory communication by exploring memory work as ‘communication for reconciliation’, looking at different cultural interventions’ role in conflict or post-conflict processes of mediation, with special regard to the concepts of postmemory and transitional justice. This paper will have a focus on South Africa and the possible correlation between the “Truth and Reconciliation” process afer apartheid and the current outbursts of xenophobic violence against migrants from other South African countries.
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Pages 1-43
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) Memory
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES
Note International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) conference. Palais des congrès (Montreal Convention Center) July 12-16 2015.
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