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Agenda-setting of the truth behind the pineapple production in Costa Rica: A Minor Field Study of the communication strategies of a rural opposition movement

Niva, Johanna LU (2016) SKDK01 20161
Department of Strategic Communication
Abstract
This thesis is a result of a Minor field study, which was carried out in Costa Rica during two months between March 25th and May 27th in 2014. The field study was financed by a scholarship from SIDA (The Swedish international development cooperation Agency). The purpose of the study was to investigate how the significantly rapid growing ICT- development in Costa Rica between 2010-2015 has changed the ways in which an opposition movement from rural communities in the country communicates. The empirical material has been collected through eleven semi-structured interviews with respondents from the opposition movement and participatory observations.
The social context in which the opposition movement operates is in the social reality of... (More)
This thesis is a result of a Minor field study, which was carried out in Costa Rica during two months between March 25th and May 27th in 2014. The field study was financed by a scholarship from SIDA (The Swedish international development cooperation Agency). The purpose of the study was to investigate how the significantly rapid growing ICT- development in Costa Rica between 2010-2015 has changed the ways in which an opposition movement from rural communities in the country communicates. The empirical material has been collected through eleven semi-structured interviews with respondents from the opposition movement and participatory observations.
The social context in which the opposition movement operates is in the social reality of living in a community next to a pineapple plantation where daily use of chemical pesticides on the plantations has contaminated the drinking water as a result of the spraying. These pesticides contain chemical substances, which can cause cancer and other serious diseases and health problems. The affected communities have not been able to drink the tap water for more than 10 years and receive water from a tanker truck twice a week. The water contamination has caused serious health-problems among the population who have a daily contact with the tap water and among plantation workers who are exposed to chemicals on a daily basis. This major social and environmental problem that many rural communities in Costa Rica next to pineapple-plantations are facing, has resulted in a growing opposition movement.
In the process of mobilization for a social movement, communication is essential. Communication through different communication channels and media are important tools for social mobilization, however communication itself is the key for the existence of a social movement (Strömbäck, 2009). Hence, studying the communication processes of a social movement is an important aspect to investigate.
Investigating the communication-process and strategies of the opposition movement in the rural communities of Costa Rica in particular is very interesting in the context of the country being the current most fast growing country considering ICT-developments (ITU, 2015).
The result of this study concludes that the opposition movement have not been able to take
advantage of ICT to a wide extent in the communication-process due to a persisting digital divide in the rural communities. Lack of access to ICT and poor Internet connection are central aspects, which prevents the movement from taking advantage of the full potential of ICT. Hence, the ways in which the movement communicates has not changed significantly regardless of the major ICT-developments in the country during the last five years. However, what the ICT-development have brought is an increased awareness among the movement of the need for (and the importance of) a united organization and the discovery that digital media and social media in particular can facilitate networking in ways that they want to learn to take advantage of. Further social media can serve as an important alternative media to the national mass where the issue is not given space and an increased corporation with large and influential NGO’s can contribute to the international agenda setting which is crucial for the movement since reaching out to a wider public can generate pressure on the Costa Rican government and the pineapple industry to force changes. (Less)
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author
Niva, Johanna LU
supervisor
organization
course
SKDK01 20161
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
Social movement, online mobilization, strategic communication, ICT, C4D, ICT4D, Pineapple industry, Costa Rica, environmental issues, Agenda Setting.
language
English
id
8877926
date added to LUP
2016-06-09 08:40:00
date last changed
2016-06-09 08:40:00
@misc{8877926,
  abstract     = {This thesis is a result of a Minor field study, which was carried out in Costa Rica during two months between March 25th and May 27th in 2014. The field study was financed by a scholarship from SIDA (The Swedish international development cooperation Agency). The purpose of the study was to investigate how the significantly rapid growing ICT- development in Costa Rica between 2010-2015 has changed the ways in which an opposition movement from rural communities in the country communicates. The empirical material has been collected through eleven semi-structured interviews with respondents from the opposition movement and participatory observations.
The social context in which the opposition movement operates is in the social reality of living in a community next to a pineapple plantation where daily use of chemical pesticides on the plantations has contaminated the drinking water as a result of the spraying. These pesticides contain chemical substances, which can cause cancer and other serious diseases and health problems. The affected communities have not been able to drink the tap water for more than 10 years and receive water from a tanker truck twice a week. The water contamination has caused serious health-problems among the population who have a daily contact with the tap water and among plantation workers who are exposed to chemicals on a daily basis. This major social and environmental problem that many rural communities in Costa Rica next to pineapple-plantations are facing, has resulted in a growing opposition movement.
In the process of mobilization for a social movement, communication is essential. Communication through different communication channels and media are important tools for social mobilization, however communication itself is the key for the existence of a social movement (Strömbäck, 2009). Hence, studying the communication processes of a social movement is an important aspect to investigate.
Investigating the communication-process and strategies of the opposition movement in the rural communities of Costa Rica in particular is very interesting in the context of the country being the current most fast growing country considering ICT-developments (ITU, 2015).
The result of this study concludes that the opposition movement have not been able to take
advantage of ICT to a wide extent in the communication-process due to a persisting digital divide in the rural communities. Lack of access to ICT and poor Internet connection are central aspects, which prevents the movement from taking advantage of the full potential of ICT. Hence, the ways in which the movement communicates has not changed significantly regardless of the major ICT-developments in the country during the last five years. However, what the ICT-development have brought is an increased awareness among the movement of the need for (and the importance of) a united organization and the discovery that digital media and social media in particular can facilitate networking in ways that they want to learn to take advantage of. Further social media can serve as an important alternative media to the national mass where the issue is not given space and an increased corporation with large and influential NGO’s can contribute to the international agenda setting which is crucial for the movement since reaching out to a wider public can generate pressure on the Costa Rican government and the pineapple industry to force changes.},
  author       = {Niva, Johanna},
  keyword      = {Social movement,online mobilization,strategic communication,ICT,C4D,ICT4D,Pineapple industry,Costa Rica,environmental issues,Agenda Setting.},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Agenda-setting of the truth behind the pineapple production in Costa Rica: A Minor Field Study of the communication strategies of a rural opposition movement},
  year         = {2016},
}