Development communication and the paradox of choice : imposition and dictatorship in comparing Sami and the SanBushmen experiences of cultural autonomy.
This research project examines the relevance of Kenneth Arrow's (1951) Impossibility Theorem as a criterion for assessing post-modern critical approaches to development media theories (Servaes, 200 I; Melkote and Steeves, 2000). Comparing two distinct indigenous minorities' experiences with struggles for cultural autonomy, those of Norway's Sami and Botswana's Basarwa, it was found that the media discourses used by NGOs frequently exploit a narrative that validly permits development to be treated as a species of social welfare implementation. Applying Arrow's (1951) conditions for the democratic summation of diverse preferences, and treating cultural, political, and civil society groups as 'voters', it was found that indigenous minority concerns may be best accommodated by linking them to broader issues that exploit historical ties between peoples, with a special emphasis on episodes that have led to coordination in achieving independent ends. Popular memories of such coordination appear to moderate relations between minorities and their national cohabitants, reducing the need for radicalization of indigenous issues and smoothing the path to autonomy.