Academic-activist partnerships in struggles of the oppressed


Academic-activist partnerships in struggles of the oppressed

Dr. Sue Bradford & Prof. Mohan Dutta

In this advocacy brief, we examine the transformative capacity of collaboration between academics and activists offering a pivotal anchor for local-national-global resistance. In the white paper on academic-activist partnerships,
Dr. Sue Bradford and Professor Mohan Dutta draw from their journeys in academia and activist organizing to
examine the intersections, synergies, challenges to, and lessons for academic activist partnerships. Questioning
the meaning of collaboration and the nature of collaborative spaces in social change, the authors offer a
conceptual framework for collaboration that joins in solidarity with the struggles of the oppressed.

Bradford, D. and Dutta, P. (2018). Academic-activist partnerships in struggles of the oppressed. CARE WHITE PAPER SERIES, (Issue 2).

Article: White_Paper_Sue_Bradford_Mohan_Dutta-November 2018

Director’s Blog


by Prof. Mohan Dutta

It was summer. A summer when the violence escalated.

In those months, when the repression accelerated from polite threats to sit down meetings to direct threats to the accusations, I was writing this encyclopedia entry on Power and Control for the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication.

Witnessing power work through the cells of my body, feeling my body respond to the repression from bouts of throwing up to losing consciousness, disrupted my understanding of power as communicative, anchoring the discursive sites of power in material articulations.

I felt the brute effect of power even as I was writing about it.

My readings and re-readings of Marx, Adorno, Gramsci were intimately intertwined with my experiences with power, resisting it, and negotiations of it in an ever-contingent space of (im)possibilities.

In this Review, I explore the interplays of the discursive and the material in the production of power and control. Power is both a force that perpetuates oppression as well as a vital source of emancipatory resistance. The review works through the question of power from interpersonal and organizational levels to political, economic, and societal realms. It attends to the contemporary context of power in the digital, circulated through structures and networks of data, in the surveillance and manipulation of behaviors, and the continuous search for extractive sites for digital capital.

Here is the link to the article:

APA citation:

Dutta, M. (2018). Power and control in communication studies. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication. Oxford University Press. doi:



by Prof. Mohan Dutta

Much of the terms of internationalization of Communication as a discipline driven by the International and National Communication Associations are juxtaposed in the backdrop of the proliferation of the Communication discipline outside of the U.S. Across Asia, from China and India to Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Bangladesh, communication programs have proliferated at an exponential rate.

The growing communication sectors across Asia call for pedagogical opportunities that train the next generation of communication practitioners across Asia. Communication training in many parts of Asia is driven by practical industry needs for communication skills. Programs therefore focus on teaching the basic skills of journalism, marketing communication, advertising, and public relations. Although the nature of communication training varies across sub-regions and nation states within Asia, the overarching emphasis on skills training for the professional communication industries is a thread that flows throughout the region.

Whereas many of these communication programs are driven by the exponential growth in the number of communication opportunities across Asia, other programs have specifically developed as significant spaces for doing communication research/scholarship. In these programs, the teaching of communication is coupled with a serious commitment to develop strengths in communication research.

It is worth noting that a number of communication programs across Asia rank among the top Communication programs across the globe, certainly placing at the top in rankings charts and in the global metric games. This is indeed an excellent sign of the internationalization of the discipline, to the extent that rankings are accepted as measures of legitimacy and/or respectability.

The proliferation of communication programs as acknowledged sites of knowledge production across Asia is an important anchor to the ongoing de-westernization of the field, at least to the extent these rankings point toward a certain sense of legitimacy and respectability. The parochial US-centrism of the discipline is at the very least disrupted by the publication of the rankings, which introduce into the cognitive schema of Communication the existence of spaces of communication knowledge production outside of the U.S. mainstream.

However, even as we increasingly have these diverse sites of knowledge production across Asia, what really do the rankings imply? Although these rankings provide important anchors to de-centering the discipline, it is worth noting that the rankings themselves are US-centric. Organizations such as Times Higher Education, US News, QS are U.S.-Eurocentric organizations, with their economic infrastructures, revenue models, and histories rooted in U.S. and Europe. Although these organizations have spent significant efforts in internationalizing their sampling frame, the very metrics they draw upon are US/Euro-centric.

Consider for instance, the rankings of research reputation and research productivity. Measures of research impact and productivity draw from knowledge database corporations such as Elsevier (which owns Scopus) and Clarivate Analytics (which owns Journal Citation Reports). These databases cull through data on productivity and impact (measured as citation), aggregate them, and offer impact impact metrics for counting the research outputs of faculty members.

These research outputs are then aggregated to offer metrics of impact for the comparison of programs, including programs in Communication.

The knowledge database corporations are U.S./Eurocentric corporations, located/centered in the US/Europe. The databases are U.S./Eurocentric, drawing their publication and citation data from largely U.S.-based/Europe-based journals. Asian institutions seeking to maximize their global reputation through rankings therefore strategically invest in hiring scholars that demonstrate their ability to publish in US/European journals, implementing strict, parochial, and ever-accelerating publication metrics in evaluation and retention processes. The rankings therefore work as instruments for pushing Communication programs across Asia toward a hegemonic US/Euro-centric standard, legitimized through US/Euro-centric journals. The patterns of hiring, retention, and promotion within Asian institutions therefore replicate the U.S. hegemony, albeit with Asian flavour. Asian academics, mostly trained in the U.S., are hired into Asian institutions, and are then disciplined with strategies of measurement that foreground and reproduce the hegemony of U.S. and European journals as sites of knowledge production and circulation. In Asian institutions chasing rankings, the h-indices and total citation counts work toward producing techniques of disciplining with greater vigor than institutions in the U.S. and Europe. This explains the recent proliferation of Asian scholarship in Communication, albeit reproducing the U.S. hegemonic assumptions, with signposts to Asian difference.

The journals of the discipline, centered in the U.S. and Europe, hegemonically push the production of Communication knowledge through the hegemonic roles played by databases, data aggregators, and rankings.

Now, one might suggest that internationalizing the discipline of Communication enables the work of de-centering the discipline. Unfortunately, with the editorial boards, editorships, and reviewing bodies of most journals primarily composed of U.S.-based academics, the scope for internationalization is limited. More importantly the very criteria for evaluating scholarship, for the evaluation of quality, and the rules of publishing in Communication are grounded in US-based logics. Even as the field is internationalized, say with editorial board members from Japan, Singapore, China, and India, the overarching codes of the discipline remain embedded within the narrow logics of U.S. communication academe. One might argue that while the recruitment of a Chinese or an Indian scholar to the board of a top Communication journal is an important entry point, it is worth noting that the Chinese or Indian scholar invited to serve on an editorial board of a top journal has usually been disciplined into the techniques of the discipline, often a product of the U.S.-based methods of disciplining.

Theorizing from Asia as a result is often an incremental addition to U.S.-centric theorizing. The hegemonic formation of U.S.-based theorizing is left intact, with some notion of Asian culture as essence (consider for instance the scores on individualism/collectivism, itself an Eurocentric construct) offered as a mediator or moderator variable. Asia as a contruct emerges as a cultural appendage, offered as an outpost of U.S.-centric Communication theory. Consider for instance the theorizing of social capital and political participation from China that predicts the relationship between social capital and political participation. The data-driven piece does so without taking into account Maoist philosophy, the organizing of community life in China under a socialist framework, and the nature of political participation. Consider similarly a piece on public opinion toward LGBTQ rights in Singapore that does so without taking into account the authoritarian state structure, multicultural values, and political pressure on civil society in Singapore. In such instances, although the published manuscripts do indeed internationalize the discipline, in reproducing U.S.-centric methods and conceptual categories, they fail to seriously engage with social phenomena in Asian contexts.

The fundamental assumptions of Communication, embedded in the Cold War/imperial liberal notions of capitalism and democracy are left intact, without engaging with the many opportunities for de-centering the liberal hegemony that emerge from/in Asia. Theorizing from Asia shaped in the contours of the disciplinary mechanisms, disconnected from Asia, is reduced to reproducing U.S. hegemony.

Blogspot Link:


Image Source:

Matthew Tukaki, executive director NZ Māori Council; Professor Mohan Dutta, director of CARE; Professor Gary Raumati-Hook, advisor to the NZ Māori Council; Sir Eddie Taihākurei Durie, chairperson of the NZ Māori Council; Dr Steve Elers, communication lecturer at the MAssey Business School; Donna Hall, legal advisor to the NZ Māori Council.

We are proud to share that New Zealand Maori Council has announced a strategic research partnership with Massey University and its CARE: Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation.

The New Zealand Māori Council has announced a strategic research partnership with Massey University and its Centre for Culture-Centred Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE).

The partnership will see the joint development and co-design of evaluation frameworks around key areas of social policy. It will also lead to the development of an evidence base to support the council when it comes to challenges facing Māori, whānau and communities across New Zealand.

Sir Taihākurei Durie, chairperson of the Māori Council, has welcomed the partnership as a new era for the council as it plots its course around social and economic policy leadership and development.

“We all know the challenges our people face and many of the models that are currently out there, from corrections and justice to health, education, housing and more are just not working,” he says.

Sir Taihākurie Durie is the former chief judge of the Māori Land Court, chair of the Waitangi Tribunal and justice of the High Court.

The partnership is a coup for Massey University and CARE, which recently relocated to Massey University from the National University of Singapore.

CARE director Professor Mohan Dutta brought the research centre to Massey University when he became dean’s chair of communication at the Massey Business School. He says the partnership as a turning point in how social policy is developed, ensuring it is not in isolation to the very people its intended to support.

“Experiences of political, economic, and social disenfranchisement are often rooted in the lack of recognition of communities as decision-makers,” he says. “CARE is excited to partner with the Māori Council to co-develop community-grounded frameworks for designing and evaluating solutions that are embedded in Māori community life.”

Dr Steve Elers, Ngāti Kauwhata, communication lecturer at the Massey Business School and CARE researcher, brought the two parties together after identifying they shared a common approach.

“This waka is moving forward and we invite Massey staff with shared research interests to jump on board with us,” he says.

CARE has recently employed new staff, including two postdoctoral fellows. New PhD researchers will begin work in the centre early next year. More information about CARE is available online.

More about CARE at @MasseyUni : Massey News
#newzealandmaoricouncilnz #CAREMassey #MasseyCJM #MasseyUni 
Image & article source: Massey News website

CARE Activist in Residence: White Paper Launch by Dr. Murdoch Stephens & Prof. Mohan Dutta

The state helps the refugee speak: dialogue, ventriloquism or something else?

CARE: Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing – Massey University


Topic: The state helps the refugee speak: dialogue, ventriloquism or something else?

Presented by : Dr.Murdoch Stephens Editor-in-Chief, Lawrence & Gibson Publishing &Doing our bit – Double NZ’s refugee quota &

Prof Mohan Dutta, Director, CARE  & Dean’s Chair in Communication, School Of Communication Journalism and Marketing.

Friday, 23rd November 2018 @ 12.00pm – 2.00pm
GLB1.14, Geography Building
Manawatu campus, Massey University


All Welcome. Free Event

Mediasite Streaming :

#CAREMassey #CAREActivistInResidenceProgram#GrassRootsPoliticalCampaign#OfficialInformationAct #DoingOurBit#DoubleTheQuota
#MasseyCJM #MasseyUni

CARE Activist In Residence Workshop by Dr.Murdoch Stephens

Topic: On starting, continuing and excelling in a DIY, grass roots political campaign

CARE: Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing – Massey University


Topic: On starting, continuing and excelling in a DIY, grass roots political campaign

Presented by : Dr.Murdoch Stephens
Editor-in-Chief, Lawrence & Gibson Publishing &Doing our bit – Double NZ’s refugee quota

Wednesday, 21st November 2018 @ 10.00am – 12.00pm
GLB3.08, Geography Building
Manawatu campus, Massey University


All Welcome. Free Event

Mediasite Streaming :

#CAREMassey #CAREActivistInResidenceProgram#GrassRootsPoliticalCampaign#OfficialInformationAct #DoingOurBit#DoubleTheQuota
#MasseyCJM #MasseyUni

CARE: Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation & School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing – Massey University present:


For who, by who? Reflections on campaigning and prospects for refugee led organisations in an expanded refugee quota.

Presented by : Dr. Murdoch Stephens.
Editor-in-Chief,Lawrence & Gibson Publishing & Doing our bit – Double NZ’s refugee quota

Tuesday, 20th November 2018 @ 1.00pm – 2.00 pm
GLB1.14, Geography Building
Manawatu campus, Massey University

Video Link to Auckland: AT4 and Wellington: 5C20 & 5D08


All Welcome. Free Event

Mediasite Streaming…/eca909af36874595ad92d9b4a9a…/

#CAREMassey #CAREActivistInResidenceProgram #ForwhoByWho #DoingOurBit #DoubleTheQuota
#MasseyCJM #MasseyUni