Many who engage with Communication Policy Research south (CPRsouth), our primary vehicle for capacity building, are associated with the field of communication. It is a wide, sprawling field, which has experienced significant growth in Asia in recent times. An enterprising graduate student took the trouble to poll senior scholars on what they believed to be the most important task for communication scholarship. The responses are here. My views are also included.
“My answer is influenced by where I stand: South Asia, with 1.5 billion people in economies growing fast, but still with the world’s largest concentration of poor people. The biggest challenge for communication scholarship is that of understanding how different groups in society deal with rapid change. The issues range from understanding the lack of trust in the political system, even in nominally democratic countries, to how families deal with extended separations they experience because of the massive growth of migrant labor. Many among the poor (and even the middle classes) are new to electronic connectivity. How does this ability to communicate cheaply across distance affect social, economic and political processes? Perhaps the last question is unique to my region, but the others are possibly not.”