Norwegian version

Public defence: Mtisunge Isabel Kamlongera

Mtisunge Isabel Kamlongera will defend her thesis: “Interactive Radio Drama and Radio Listening Clubs as ‘critical pedagogy': an exploratory sociality-centred case study of development and social change in Malawi” for the degree of PhD in Educational Sciences for Teacher Education.

Trial Lecture

The trial lecture starts at 10:00. Please do not enter the room after the lecture has begun.

Title: “Freirean critical pedagogy and Decolonial theory: What are some of the key features of a Freirean critical pedagogy today, and how does such an approach relate to Decolonial perspectives and projects?”

Public defence

The candidate will defend her thesis at 12.00. Please do not enter the room after the defence has begun.

Title of the thesis: “Interactive Radio Drama and Radio Listening Clubs as ‘critical pedagogy': an exploratory sociality-centred case study of development and social change in Malawi.”

The defence is also available via zoom

Join the webinar (

Passcode: 021222

Webinar ID: 677 1658 5129

Ordinary opponents

Leader of the public defence

Associate Professor Annette Hessen Bjerke, OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University


How to oppose ex auditorio

Please inform the leader of the defense if you wish to oppose ex auditorio during the break, before the second opponent begins. 

For questions regarding the trial lecture and public defense, contact the PhD administration at the faculty.

Publication of the approved PhD thesis

Request a copy (PDF) of the PhD thesis by e-mail. Include the name of the PhD candidate.

  • Abstract

    Interactive Radio Drama and Radio Listening Clubs as ‘critical pedagogy' : an exploratory sociality-centred case study of development and social change in Malawi

    Mtisunge Isabel Kamlongera ,  Educational Science for Teacher Education, Faculty of Teacher Education and International Studies (LUI)


    This thesis explores the case of Tisinthe, a participatory development initiative in Malawi. The Tisinthe campaign utilises a combination of development communication strategies in its approach. Most central strategies are Entertainment education (EE) blended with a live interactive radio drama, as well as established Freirean based Radio Listening Clubs in select communities. The objective within the thesis is therefore  to explore the application of these development communication strategies in Tisinthe, from the view of participants and their experiences as a targeted audience and community. The study is explored with consideration of several factors; first, research on development praxis reveals a challenge of full ‘participation’ in implemented initiatives. Second, development communication praxis is critiqued for being conceptualised with little regard for the realities existing in actual participant's communities. For instance, studies tend to be narrowly focused on digital forms of media and its influences on reality (Morley, 2009). However, while other ICT platforms such as social media,  may be in existence, radio remains as the ‘latest’  and most accessible communication technology within the context of developing Malawi. This is because  the masses do not have access or cannot afford accessing   digital media platforms (Manyozo, 2012). Third, communication and media scholars call for expounded research that explores ‘full’ communication practices, not neglecting  the ‘analysis of the corresponding movements of objects, commodities, and persons’ (Morley, 2009). It is therefore relevant to explore, from a decolonial perspective (a research agenda that has an African interest at heart, per Tietaah et al., 2019), the reality of media practices in the example, Malawian context.

    The case of Tisinthe is explored with these considerations in mind and through the posed research questions within this thesis. The first research question  is empirical; In what way does ‘Tisinthe’, work as a form of liberatory and empowering education? The Second question, however, is based on literature that reveals that the broader context of  the development communication field, like other fields, is not without its colonial influences (power asymmetries). This thesis therefore poses the second research question which endeavours to explore how researching and exploring the development communication case of Tisinthe can be approached from a decolonial and critical perspective.

    The study’s theoretical framework emphasises interpretation from the participants context. The framework put forth within this thesis is one intended to explore possibilities for conceptualising firstly, non-media-centric practices among the participants(Manyozo, 2018; Morley, 2009) and secondly as an address in line with the decolonial agenda alluded to as needed by scholars (Dutta, 2015; Willems, 2014a). The methodology employed in the research is therefore one that centres on the participants sharing power in the creating of knowledge about their reality. The methodology includes the use of drawing elicitation, photo voice, together with interviews, focus groups and observation.  

    Findings reveal that Tisinthe’s incorporation of Freirean pedagogy facilitates an  opportunity for participants to be empowered through dialogue at RLCs. Furthermore, analytical consideration of the indigenous knowledge communication systems reveals that the RLC is transformed into a temporal sphere of ‘power’. That is, through outcome dialogue at the RLC, the RLC community is empowered  to engage with ‘authorities’ within the  cultural sphere of power. In this way the RLC as a community can trigger self-defined social change as well as possibly alter ‘acceptable’ community norms. In this manner,  Tisinthe’s RLC is particularly  affirmed as being  an educational sphere enabling and, in some forms, imparting an empowering education. However, with regards to the question of Tisinthe’s overall pedagogy, for development and empowerment of the marginalized, the findings are true to what Freire states; ‘the beauty of education is that it does not do everything by itself, yet without it, many things cannot be done’ (in Souto-Manning, 2010, p. 7). For Tisinthe to be a true participatory and empowering educational program, it would have to incorporate participation from all stakeholders throughout the campaign. Such consideration and incorporation of communities would require an understanding and navigation of the local systems of power that determine individual and community norms. An understanding as well as incorporation of the people’s reality would in turn inform change facilitators such as the NGO that created Tisinthe (TfaC-Malawi) on how participants use media and in turn how media can be used to the benefit (development and social change)of the masses in a true participatory and empowering format. 

    The study findings contribute towards the understanding of media practices within the context of rural Malawi couched in a reading of indigenous and Afrocentric narratives of said reality.