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Communication for social change: the education-entertainment strategy in theory and practice

van Hoek, Anneke
June 4, 2015

Source: (2008) Report of the fifth conference of the European Forum for Restorative Justice, Building restorative justice in Europe: cooperation between the public, policy makers, practitioners and researchers, Verona.

Worldwide a number of groups have sought ways to incorporate social change messages into radio and television entertainment like popular drama- and soap serials. This so-called entertainment-education (EE) strategy is defined as “… the process of purposively designing and implementing a mediating communication form with the potential of entertaining and educating people, in order to enhance and facilitate different stages of pro-social (behaviour) change.” An essential element in this definition is constituted by the words “purposively designing and implementing”. There is a need to develop a wider variety of effective and efficient strategies to bridge the gap between cognitive and affective approaches in communication for social change. More affective and heuristic principles
appealing to emotions and human interest need to be integrated in this communication strategy. E-E is a field of scholarly analysis, but its professional practice is strongly linked to the entertainment industry. This ‘marriage’ between communication scholars and television professionals offers a challenge: How can both collaborate in entertainment projects without short-changing the other party? In this workshop, the principal theoretical notions of the EE strategy will be discussed and given a practical perspective through the presentation of an EE-radio-project in Rwanda aimed at the prevention of ethnocentric violence, reconciliation and trauma healing. The workshop will close with a discussion about the question whether the EE-strategy can also be of help in informing the public about restorative justice. (excerpt)


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