What is CCA

Posted in About CCA

Formulated under the framework of the culture-centered approach, Professor Dutta’s research program explores the interactions among structure, culture and agency in the co-creation of transformative practices for challenging marginalizing communication practices in healthcare settings. The goals of this program of research are to understand (a) the location of communication within the complex interplay of structure and culture, (b) the ways in which individual and collective agencies are enacted within and in resistance to structural constraints, and (c) the interactions of human agency and communicative processes in bringing about social change and structural transformation. These research interests suggest theoretical insights regarding the ways in which communication structures, practices, and messages participate in the marginalization of certain sectors of the population, and draw attention to the processes through which these silencing structures are resisted by those that are typically disenfranchised. Ultimately, these theoretical entry points provide pragmatic guidelines for engaging with problems of marginalization and disenfranchisement, fostering spaces for listening to those voices that have historically been rendered silent by the institutional practices of policymakers, interventionists, and program evaluators. The emphasis is on co-creating theoretically grounded spaces of change by working dialogically with subaltern communities through participatory communication strategies.

Research on the culture-centered approach to health communication explores the ways in which cultural meanings are co-constructed by participants in their interactions with the structures that surround their lives. It is through these co-constructions that subaltern participants discuss possibilities of resisting a healthcare system that continues to locate them at the peripheries of the mainstream, and co-create narratives of social change that transform the silences carried out by mainstream structures of knowledge production. Agency and context are two key threads that have flown through the research conducted in this area, utilizing combinations of ethnography, survey-based methodology and performance to engage with the symbolic and material spaces of social change across the globe. Scholarship focusing on the culture-centered approach has been published in Communication Theory, Health Communication, Human Communication Research, Health Education and Behavior, and Qualitative Health Research, in addition to being published as chapters in several books. The key concepts of the culture-centered approach are highlighted in the book “Communicating health: A culture-centered approach” published by Polity Press. Currently, Professor Dutta is working on the book Communicating social change: Structure, culture, agency” to be published by Taylor & Francis. He was awarded the Lewis Donohew Outstanding Health Communication Scholar Award in recognition of this work. His most recent research involves a $1.5 million project funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ) to develop culturally-centered guides on heart disease for African Americans in the Lake & Marion counties of Indiana. Also, he has been working most recently on a global project of social change involving the health of migrant workers in the backdrop of neoliberalism. For information on the culture-centered approach, please check out the following blog:

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