Monday, December 7, 2009

EE a type of PD?

It seems that the articles on Entertainment Education and Open Source Public Diplomacy had quite a bit in common. Both focused on the typical approach of the West to use these tactics (EE and traditional Public Diplomacy) to "impose" its values or beliefs on another country or region. With EE, Dutta says that the West is using the technique to tell the 3rd World countries what they think is best for them, be it population control, or safe sex, or any number of other issues. In PD, it could be any kind of value or idea, from democracy to pro-Americanism, to consumerism (which could also be thought of as the West saying it knows best too).
Dutta indicates that EE is done for the same reasons PD is, to encourage people to act or think in a way that will benefit you. He believes that The West engages in EE for selfish reasons under the guise of altruism. It encourages population control and other programs to create free-markets in those countries which would open them to foreign investment. While I'm sure there are people who do think this way, I doubt that is the overall aim of people in USAID and other similar organizations. Although not always implemented in the most effective way, I believe most of the people are doing this work because they believe it will help people.
However many of these programs have not worked as they were supposed to and therefore could benefit from Dutta's suggestions, which closely mirror Open Source Diplomacy; engaging the population you wish to influence, acting on a peer-to-peer level, and encouraging activism within the community. It seems as though acting like other countries are our peers and we want to work with them, rather than our inferiors whom we must teach how to live in the right way, would go a long way toward solving some of the world's problems.


  1. Katie,
    I agree with your assessment. I thought he really generalized those people that work on these issues. Sure, there may be - sometimes - ulterior motives, but does that change the fact that in many cases positive changes have occurred? He referenced negative outcomes but didn't really give concrete examples. Development is challenging, and I give credit to those who keep trying creative ways to improve it.

  2. Katie,

    I agree as well. I blogged about something similar regarding public diplomacy, entertainment education, and soft power. It is very interesting to see the many different forms of public diplomacy that exist. Even though there are many different forms, it seems as though the United States still can't get its act together involving any of them. Maybe when we graduate,we can change that:)

  3. I agree, but I wonder to what extent the Third World knows where the message actually comes from. The educational message is hidden in the entertainment, and that's why it works- viewers don't really realize that they're being educated.