About the author
Volker Hoffmann, born 1947, graduated in agricultural economics at Hohenheim
University, attained a doctorate in social sciences (Dr. rer soc.) and
qualified as a lecturer in the social sciences of agriculture. After holding
a chair in communication studies for horticulture at Hanover University,
he returned to Hohenheim University to chair the department of agricultural
communication and extension studies.
About the book
A picture says more than a thousand words. This is true, but only
in very narrow spheres, where attention centres on the appearance, the
outward nature of objects. Usually, however, the opposite is the case.
Words are a far more powerful and universal means of communication than
pictures. The proper combination of language and imagery, finally, is
superior to either of the two alone this applies equally in literate
cultures and in communication with illiterate people.
The true potential of pictorial communication is both overestimated and
underexploited. This book aims to fill that gap, providing clarification
in a historical and universal perspective. A presentation of the European
history of media facilitates empathy with the still essentially oral world
of Africa. A major chapter sets out the general theoretical context, providing
a systematic study of the potential and limitations of pictorial communication.
This is followed by a discussion of communication with illiterates, using
a functional, setting-based approach, and a description of the communication
setting of rural development programmes and projects in Africa. Having
thus laid the groundwork, the author presents two case studies of important
instances in which pictorial communication has been developed and utilized
successfully in Africa. Critical appraisal and comparative analysis of
these cases leads, in conjunction with applied fundamentals, to practical
Once more, this second, completely revised and expanded edition is written
for academics and development practitioners alike.