New book on Technologies and Communication from Obijiofor
A new book entitled, New Technologies in Developing Societies: From Theory to Practice, written by Dr. Levi Obijiofor, a Senior Lecturer in Journalism at the School of Communication and Arts, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, has been released by Palgrave Macmillan (UK).
The publication seeks to expose and critically engage with current gaps in communication for social change theory and practice. Obijiofor explains, “This book is unique in various ways. It departs from existing texts on development communication that focuses essentially on theories of development. It draws on existing theoretical assumptions about technology and development to demonstrate pragmatically what people in developing countries are doing with technologies to improve their socioeconomic conditions. The relationship between theory and practice that is largely missing in existing texts is given special but critical attention.”
The book places a strong focus on practice. It is broad in scope, looking at case studies from Africa and other developing countries ranging from public health interventions working to combat HIV/AIDS to exploring the difficulties that ethnographic researchers face when studying online worlds. Topics that are discussed in the book include New Technologies and the Socioeconomic Development of Africa; Public Service Broadcasting for Economic Growth and Language Development; Indigenous Knowledge and Intellectual Property Rights in a New Age; The African Public Sphere in the Electronic Era; Changing Technologies and the Changing Role of Citizens; Tradition Versus Modernity in HIV/AIDS Prevention; Ethnographic Research in ‘Offline’ and Online Worlds, as well as Mobile Phones: Transforming Public Communication in Africa.
cholars in the USA, Australia, and South Africa have also rated the book high.
In his review of the book, Professor Cornelius B. Pratt of Temple University (USA) wrote: “This comprehensive, go-to book will be invaluable to field specialists and in upper-division and graduate courses in (international) communication. It focuses on developing societies’ communication landscape from a 21st-century perspective: technology as a transformative force in every facet of those societies. It blends theories, models, and practices as it presents straightforwardly balanced contexts in which we can better understand—and appreciate—the use of communication technologies in developing countries. The downsides of their use are also clearly presented.”
Similarly, Professor Greg Hearn, Director of Commercial Research in the Creative Industries Faculty of the Queensland University of Technology (Brisbane, Australia) wrote: “The book strikes a right balance between critical perspectives and optimism based on the rapid development of technology, services and innovation in Africa. Arguing that practice teaches us as much as theory, the book covers a wide range of topics from broadcasting to ehealth, and entertainment to education. The book is especially strong on its discussion of the public sphere, citizenship, and socio-economic development. This is a book that will be of great interest to researchers, policy makers and practitioners.”
Professor Francis Nyamnjoh of the University of Cape Town (South Africa) and author of Africa’s Media: Democracy and the Politics of Belonging wrote: “This is a refreshingly well-substantiated endorsement of the practical implications for socio-economic, cultural and political development of the new media revolution in progress across Africa. It is a grounded study on the importance of information and communication technologies for human agency and resilience against the overwhelming structures of reproduction of global and local inequalities.”