12 Books Published in the CSC Palgrave Book Series
12 Books Published in the CSC Palgrave Book Series

Established in 2014, the CSC Palgrave Book Series has steadily become known for championing writing that is intentionally oriented towards opening up new spaces of thinking, novel theoretical articulations, and methodological breakthroughs.

This series explores the many mediations of social change – shaped by commercial nationalism as much as by social movements, by the politics of identity as much as by feminist and queer activism, by moribund structures and institutions, as much as by realpolitik and citizen participation. With 12 books already published and 3 more scheduled for publication, this series has evinced interest from both scholars and practitioners from around the world.
Heather Crandall, in a review of the first book in the series by Thomas & de Fliert (2015), Interrogating the Theory and Practice of Communication for Social Change: The Basis for a Renewal, highlights the usefulness of the new thinking that this book series expounds.

“For CSC practitioners, Interrogating is useful. First, it is useful through its argument for transdisciplinarity and its high level look at the trends in the field. Second, it is useful through the practical examples and existing resources available. For example, The United Kingdom's International Institute for Environment and Development has a treasure trove of practical guidelines available to use along with a Participatory Learning Action Plan series...Practitioners interested in the use of technology for social change could study the Bhoomi project. Based in India, the project was a massive effort to digitize land records. Practitioners tired of a one-size-fits-all model that does not make substantial difference should find the model Interrogating offers exciting.

For those who teach undergraduate courses with sections on media and globalization or communication for social change, Interrogating has great case studies. One case, for example, the Alliance of Youth Movement, is detailed and the  authors describe how to critically see it. They say the movement is really about "influencing everyday cultures of mainly middle-class youth through the world who are united by their use of social networking technologies to generate and share content but who have now been enlisted to work towards a greater cause--that of bringing 'democracy' along with presumably the 'market' to their countries" (pp. 63-64). A generative class discussion could follow.

For those who teach graduate-level seminars on communication for social change, political economy, development communication, or global media systems, Thomas and Fliert make clear the connection of how theory informs practice. For example, diffusion of innovations theory has served to guide CSC for decades. Interrogating traces how power functions in a Foulcaudian perspective, how hegemony is maintained by the powerful, and how the two-step flow highlights the importance of opinion leaders as a key concept in development. The authors also discuss many of the newer ideas about problems with technological determinism. They point out that, as is often the case, projects do not carefully conceptualize or implement technology, so problems occur when technology does not deliver in local contexts, contexts rife with race, class, and gender divides. 

What is useful for teachers will also help scholars. Specifically, Interrogating offers recent lists of scholarship in each chapter. In the chapter on agencies and structures, Thomas and Fliert point to "the most comprehensive overview of the literature on International Media Development Cooperation" (p. 80). In the chapter on communication, power, and social change, they argue that the organizations involved in social change are worthwhile objects of study if you consider both power as a resource and power as a strategy (p. 71). The authors consistently point to fruitful areas of research or theorizing. They assert that CSC work under theorizes the digital and, similarly, theorizing about power is both needed and lacking."

This book and each of its successors, including the latest "In the Aftermath of Gezi: From Social Movement to Social Change", contributes excellence and innovation to the CSC field. It is a series that explores new ways of thinking and engages with CSC, not just theoretically, but in practice. For scholars, students, teachers and practitioners, it is a must-read series, that will open up the world of CSC and change the way you think about the field.

We welcome ideas for proposals. Contact Pradip Thomas (pradip.thomas@uq.edu.au) and/or Elske van de Fliert ( e.vandefliert@uq.edu.au).



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