Selected Principles for Ethical Social and Behavior Change Communication
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Other Titles:Selected Principles for Ethical Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC)
Series/Report no.:PREA Conference. Ethics and Humanitarian Research: Generating Evidence Ethically. The Fawcett Event Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, March 25-26, 2019. Presentation. Session 10. Oral Presentations 3. Paper B.
This paper will address ethical challenges in applied communication work undertaken to alleviate poverty and advance social justice in the subfield of development communication, alternatively called social and behavior change communication (SBCC). It will aim to identify principles that might be most relevant to a code of ethics or code of practice for SBCC work. The paper will begin with a brief characterization of the SBCC field and relevant ethical challenges. Following this, approaches to ethics that might be relevant to this exercise will be reviewed, including utilitarianism, Kantianism, and communitarianism. The body of the paper will engage ethics and justice related thought in the works of Amartya Sen and Jurgen Habermas. Amartya Sen's thinking offers a cosmopolitan treatment of justice and ethics that is particularly suitable for the global relevance of SBCC work, comprising an element of Sen's larger "capabilities" approach to development. Jurgen Habermas's work on "discourse ethics" is suitable because it conceives the formation of ethical and justice values explicitly as a communication process expressing citizen voice. While the work of these two scholars overlaps in some respects, and is complementary. Sen prioritizes development work while Habermas provides a more in-depth understanding of communication processes, and how communication processes may be linked to ethical frameworks that are just. The paper will not attempt to offer a code of ethics for SBCC. Rather, a number of ethical principles will be drawn from Sen's thinking and discourse ethics as these may be relevant to SBCC work.
AUTHOR AFFILIATION: Tom Jacobson and Nicole LeMire Garlic, Temple University, United States, firstname.lastname@example.org