Dutta's article criticizes Entertainment Education campaigns and analyses USAID objectives. She claims that the values and ideologies driving a campaign are perhaps most evident in the objectives of the campaign. Dutta writes, “the goals of EE programs then are located within the broader goals of USAID to create strategically secure environments and to exploit subaltern spaces to secure profits for the transnational hegemony.” She writes that in essence, the goal of EE programs serve the tools of globalization and transnational capitalism that impose a set of core values on other parts of the world and that open up the doors of countries from starvation and poverty to commercial products of the free market economy. Dutta argues that EE programs have become the tools for colonialism of a different kind that focuses on creating markets for multinationals. Which correlates to what Singhal asks in his article, “why are 'doing well' (commercially) and 'doing good' (socially) perceived as being at odds with each other?” If USAID goals are to open up markets to transnational corporations, are their commercial interests are in some ways at odds with their EE goals?
I was hoping Dutta's article would discuss more specific campaigns and gone more in depth with some analyses. She does mention some movements briefly and writes in a footnote that many grassroots movements use forms of entertainment such as folk art forms, streets plays, etc. She quotes some subaltern voices which articulate the need for food in many countries. Singhal gives examples of EE campaigns and what they are fighting. For example, the Karate Kids has been shown to combat the prostitution of street children in dozens of nations. Soul City in South Africa spend many months conducting extensive formative research to develop one annual campaign cycle. One of the problems of EE interventions in places like the US is what the authors call 'media-saturated societies.' This made me think about last week's readings, specifically Nye when he discussed the 'paradox of plenty' and how there is a scarcity of attention because of this. I think the 'scarcity of attention' is an issue even in societies where people are not overrun by the media and information from many directions. Trying to find the right kind of EE for a specific community is quite difficult and obtaining and keeping their attention is just as difficult. The goal of EE is behavioral and social change, and this is even harder than just acquiring people's attention. I'd be interested to read some research in this area. What are the best EE practices to obtain behavioral change? Is it necessary in this process to separate the commercial and social goals then? Singhal notes that entertainment-education interventions face a variety of challenges and resistances from the start of the message production process, to the message environment, and even during message reception. “Theoretically based research on entertainment-education should pay greater attention to these various resistances, and identify ways to overcome them.” Dutta recommends that scholars of health communication start looking outside the traditional EE agenda and defining alternative models of participatory communication. "Scholars need to identify problems based on community dialogue, fostering it with the elite classes to facilitate structural changes and working with subaltern classes to identify strategies for getting their voices heard." Dutta's recommendations are common sense in some ways, but they are not easily executed because the subaltern voices the ones that are easily ignored.