From the Margins to the Centre(s) of Social Change: An Exploration of the Contributions of Latin American Communication Research
Latin American communication research has a long history of considering communication as a participatory and horizontal process. However, this research is not necessarily widely known in the West. This paper analyzes the work of some of the main foundational and contemporary communication scholars from Latin America, and the contributions and limitations of this body of work in relation to global communication. This paper draws mainly from the work of foundational and contemporary scholars from Latin America. To a lesser extent, it draws from the work of scholars from other countries from the West and the Global South that can inform the understanding of communication research in Latin America. An exploration of the main work and thought of some of the foundational Latin American communication scholars indicates that most of this literature has focused on empirical contributions, assessing, questioning, re-contextualizing and adapting the theories from the West to the local settings, and that less emphasis has been placed on generating unique theoretical concepts and frameworks emerging from the region. However, a review of the work of some contemporary scholars from Latin America â€“ especially the ones focusing on participation, decoloniality and the conceptualization of the margins â€“ suggests that there could be a shift in the focus of Latin American communication research, and the contributions that it could have to the theory and practice of global communication. The analysis of the literature indicates that the work of some of the contemporary Latin American scholars focusing on decoloniality and the conceptualization of the margins could contribute to build theoretical work emerging from the region and, in this way, help increase, re-value, and distribute the literature making unique theoretical contributions to the study of communication from Latin America. This work could have important theoretical and empirical contributions to communication research in Latin America and beyond. Future research in the region should take these considerations into account, while also studying the possibilities and limitations of emerging information technologies in different contexts.
Copyright (c) 2018 Belen Febres-Cordero
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