Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Communications Capital Framework Post #1

I thought it would be helpful to start with a framework which sustainability education advocates in BC could use to develop their communications approaches. This framework is based on the community capital framework discussed in detail in Mark Roseland's book "Toward Sustainable Communities: Resources for Citizens and Their Governments" and theory on different forms of capital by Pierre Bourdieu and others.

The framework is based on my informed belief (and on a great deal of research out there...see my September 28th post for some of these listings) that communication strategies must go much deeper than media and marketing campaigns and encompass network development, communication skills development, language and symbolic power formation and much more.

In order to address the communication challenges, questions and prescriptions for “how” discussed by the BC Sustainability Education movement (see Introduction Blogs from October 2009), it is helpful to have a framework to guide action. The following is an overview of a framework for communications planning, which will assist movement members in the development of more comprehensive and effective strategies and will empower them to move beyond basic information and marketing models.

The Communications Capital Framework is based on research in the field of environmental and sustainability communication and is modeled after the theoretical concepts of alternate capital sources which has been used in community capital models. The theory for most of the discussion on forms of capital for this framework was taken from the work of Pierre Bourdieu, a pioneer in this area. The concept of utilizing many forms of capital as a framework for asset development comes from the work in sustainable community development, primarily the work of Mark Roseland and associates, in which communities are encouraged to develop and utilize all the assets they require to make positive change. The Communications Capital Framework is not designed with the assertion that it is a completely unique theoretical framework but instead was put together as a way of organizing what the blog author believes to be critical areas of asset development for effective social change movement communication.

The communications capital framework has been and will continue to be used to develop recommendations for the movement in throughout guideBLOG and it can also be used to develop plans and evaluation criteria for communication strategies in organizations wanting to advance sustainability education in BC.

The Communications Capital Framework utilizes the concepts of social capital, political capital, human capital, cultural capital and symbolic capital. The framework is based on the assertion that all of these sources of capital need to be considered and developed as assets within the movement in order to move beyond individual communication strategies and toward a truly transformative discourse about sustainability education. The framework includes the capital concepts as listed above as well as key environmental and sustainability communication theory which the author of this blog believes can be very complimentary.

The blog posts following this will discuss each form of capital and my recommendations for the movement in each area.

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