1056   Individual paper

When Scicom meets Devcom: Communicating science using the Devcom lens and what we can learn from it

Author: Garry Jay Montemayor
University of the Philippines Los Baños, Philippines

Development communication (devcom) as a concept and formal field of study was first articulated by Nora C. Quebral in 1971 during a symposium held at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) (Quebral, 2006). In simplest sense, devcom’s aim is to look at how communication can improve human lives. To achieve that aim, devcom is guided by three different assumptions and approaches: information delivery, empowerment, and participation (Roman, 2005). Due to its strong leaning in practice than in theorizing, devcom has been applied in many contexts, resulting to different schools of devcom. Devcom Los Baños style is one of these (Manyozo, 2006).

Science communication scholarship in the Philippines started under the Devcom Los Baños in the early 1970s. The hybrid of two fields somewhat created a distinctive brand of “local” scicom that could be slightly different from "Western" scicom – one that aims to communicate the contents, products, and processes of science not just to inform but to improve human lives; is generally non-media centric; is closely related to the field of information science; acknowledges many different publics to work (and negotiate) with; and is participatory in nature. 

Through historical document analysis and key informant interviews, the paper tries to articulate the devcom's brand of scicom by tracing its historical roots vis-a-vis intellectual influences that shaped (and are shaping) the field. Cases of scicom projects will be discussed to highlight how scicom is practiced using the devcom lens. Finally, a reflection about its praxis will be done to extract some lessons learned from past experiences that might have implications in scicom theorizing and practice in the future.

It addresses the “Time” conference theme as we investigate the history of scicom scholarship in Devcom, UPLB, and how it can contribute to furthering scicom practice especially in developing countries.

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