Organizing for Social Change
Professor, Department of Communication, Texas A&M University
`In Organizing for Social Change, one rediscovers the value of dialectics within a theoretically complex story of empowerment and transformation that is told in a very personal tone with careful attention to detail' - Patrice M Buzzanell, Professor, Department of Communication, Purdue University
`Scholars and practitioners will find this book theoretically sound, methodologically rigorous, and rich with poignant narratives. The book models engaged scholarship; it is truly refreshing to encounter scholarship that matters to various stakeholders, academic and otherwise' - Lynn M. Harter
Assistant Professor, School of Communication Studies, Ohio University
Conventionally, analysts of social change perceive organizational initiatives in binary terms: for instance, projects are seen as being either top-down or bottom-up; local culture is seen as being either modern or traditional. Challenging this restrictive dualistic sentiment, this important book argues that social change emerges in a nonlinear, circuitous and dialectic process of struggle between competing poles of action. In support of their approach, the authors:
- identify four dialectic tensions as being central to the process of organizing for social change: control and emancipation, oppression and empowerment, dissemination and dialogue, and fragmentation and unity;
- argue for a dialectic approach which acknowledges that contradictory tensions can and do co-exist (for example, a project can control beneficiaries with tough conditionalities even as it emancipates them through economic empowerment); and
- draw upon cases set in various contexts-social justice, academic, corporate, artistic, and others-from both developing and developed countries.
The authors elaborate their thesis by examining four cases in depth: the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh; the dairy cooperatives of India's National Dairy Development Board; entertainment-education broadcasts and on-the-ground community organizing in Indian villages; and community suppers in Appalachia (USA).
Combining quality scholarship with a very interesting writing style, drawning from everyday life and its new insights into the processes of social change, this absorbing book is an essential text for scholars and practitioners of communication, social work, gender studies and social change.