Learning Research & Change Methods

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Posts Tagged ‘social change

Education, Participatory Action Research and Social Change

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Drawing primarily from critical traditions in social and educational research, this book frames contemporary issues and several conceptual, theoretical-analytical and onto-epistemmic approaches towards the development and practice of PAR (Participatory Action Research) in multiple educational spaces and initiatives for socio-cultural change. These include indigenous conceptions from Berber (Algeria), Cree & Innuit (Canada), Maori (New Zealand), Adivasi (India) and African indigenous communities in Tanzania and Zimbabwe, while critical Euro-American traditions address neoliberal cooptation of PAR, Habermasian applications in higher education, critical pedagogy and critical ecological perspectives in North America and Australia.

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Written by learningchange

17/10/2012 at 10:29

Complexity Science and Social Entrepreneurship – Adding Social Value through Systems Thinking

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This ground-breaking volume explores social entrepreneurship from the perspective of complexity science and systems thinking. Case studies, models, simulations, and theoretical papers advance both theory and practice, providing an innovative and comprehensive look at these dynamic topics. Written by complexity theorists, international development practitioners, and experts in a variety of other disciplines, this must-have book is mandatory reading for everyone interested in this newly developing field.

The greatest contribution from complexity science is the theoretical link it makes between sustainability and the dynamics of open systems in disequilibrium. Amidst a burgeoning literature of social entrepreneurship this volume is the very first to make this link explicit, and in so doing offers a leading-edge perspective on every aspect of social entrepreneurship. Each of the chapters generates new insights and frameworks for researchers, practitioners and policy makers.

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Read also: Introduction

Community Gardening As Social Action

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Drawing on social movement theory, the thesis investigates the ways community gardeners in these organisations approach environmental and social justice issues and considers the relationships between community gardening and wider movements. In particular, the thesis considers the political logic of community gardeners’ collective practices, revealing the specific methods community gardeners use to enact social change. It then considers whether community gardening can be seen as a form of political praxis. The thesis shows that community gardening is used strategically and intentionally as a performance to make collective claims. In some contexts and to the extent to which it is so used, it argues that community gardening can be understood as a social movement practice. Finally, the thesis contends that community gardeners’ strategies are part of a repertoire of collective action, which offers both a contribution to existing understandings of collective action and a critique of current conceptualisations of activism.

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The social business

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Almost all leadership concepts start with the assumption that a key role for the leader is to set a direction. This usually means designing and communicating a vision and a set of goals. Traditionally, the roles of vision and goals have been there to help people to understand the direction of the enterprise and how they can contribute to it.

Today we need something more.

We need to define what binds individuals together. Separate individuals connecting with the vision may not be enough if people don’t connect with one another. What we are striving to do is not enough if there is no discussion about who we are, and why we do the things we do. We cannot talk about an organization of people without referring to what makes them a collective.

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On Emergent Leadership

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Without an active leader who takes responsibility for building a network, spontaneous connection between groups emerges very slowly, or not at all.”

So, what are the five key elements of Emergent Leadership?

1. Encourage/ stimulate lots of actors (help build critical mass).

2. Articulate simple, consistent rules.

3. Articulate simple, deep values and goals.

4. Articulate simple, appropriate roles.

5. Assume NO direct command and control.

Is there any evidence of this kind of “Emergent Leadership” happening in OT? Well, YES! LOTS! Just look for the “worker bee” spark plugs in any of the encampments. (These are the folks with the dark circles under their eyes, from working day and night.) They’ve got dark circles, because most of their time is spent swimming against an “anti-leadership” tide.

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Self-Liberation: A Guide to Strategic Planning for Action to End a Dictatorship or Other Oppression

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Many people live in countries with governments that can be identified as dictatorships, or less harshly, authoritarian regimes. Usually, most of the people in those countries would like their oppressive regime to be replaced by a more democratic and free political system.  But, how can this be achieved? Dictatorships are not the only major type of oppression. Systems of social and economic oppression also exist.  When people want to end oppression and achieve greater freedoms and more justice, is there a way to do this realistically, effectively, self-reliantly, and by means that will last? Many people have sought answers to these questions and have worked hard to achieve liberation. Many additional people have tried to assist the oppressed people to end their subjection. However, none of us can claim to have offered adequate answers. These challenges remain.

In conflicts between a dictatorship, or other oppression, and a dominated population, it is necessary for the populace to determine whether they wish simply to condemn the oppression and protest against the system.  Or, do they wish actually to end the oppres-sion, and replace it with a system of greater freedom, democracy, and justice? Many good people have assumed that if they denounce the oppression strongly enough, and protest long enough, the desired change will somehow happen. That assumption is an error.

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Beyond Consensus or Majority: Notes about Decision-Making in a Leaderless Movement

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On October 18th I participated in the general assembly meeting in OccupyOakland. On October 22nd I posted a piece about that experience, which I named In Search of Dialogue. Even before writing that piece I have been engaging in my mind with the large question of decision-making in this movement. Since I posted this piece, I have received many comments and have read much that others have written, all of which have taken my thinking forward.

I remain deeply humble as I reflect on this movement. I believe even more than before that no one at this point can predict what this movement will bring about. With all the humility, I still want to ask the question: how can a movement maintain its focus and vision, include everyone that wants to be heard and create an efficient collaborative decision-making process?

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The Stigmergic Revolution

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It was long believed that the queen played a central role in the complex social order of an ant colony, through the exercise of direct command and control over her subjects. Not so. Biologist Pierre-Paul Grasse coined the term “stigmergy” for the anthill’s social organization. There is no central coordination, no hierarchy, no administrative mechanism. Each ant’s behavior is entirely spontaneous and self-directed, as it responds independently to the chemical trail markers left by other ants.

Mark Elliot, whose doctoral dissertation is probably the best study on the subject to date, applied the term “stigmergy” to any form of human socialization in which coordination is achieved not by social negotiation or administration or consensus, but entirely by independent individual action against the background of a common social medium.

That’s essentially the organizational form used by the Linux developer community, by networked resistance movements like the Zapatista global support network of the 1990s, and by the post-Seattle anti-globalization movement. It’s the way Wikipedia and al Qaeda are organized.

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Change the World Without Taking Power: The Meaning of Revolution Today

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The wave of political demonstrations since the Battle of Seattle in 2001 have crystallised a new trend in left-wing politics. Modern protest movements are grounding their actions in both Marxism and Anarchism, fighting for radical social change in terms that have nothing to do with the taking of state power. This is in clear opposition to the traditional Marxist theory of revolution which centers on taking state power. In this book, John Holloway asks how we can reformulate our understanding of revolution as the struggle against power, not for power. After a century of failed attempts by revolutionary and reformist movements to bring about radical social change, the concept of revolution itself is in crisis. John Holloway opens up the theoretical debate, reposing some of the basic concepts of Marxism in a critical development of the subversive Marxist tradition represented by Adorno, Bloch and Lukacs, among others, and grounded in a rethinking of Marx’s concept of fetishisation– how doing is transformed into being.

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What Would It Mean to Win?

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Connecting some of the more remarkable events of the last decade–including the rioting in Oaxaca and in the outskirts of Paris and the modern crises of neoliberalism–this critical analysis suggests new strategies for the progressive Left and that forward-moving change is possible. It examines the concept that movements generally develop at times of acceleration and expansion, but ultimately naturally slow down without consideration of their actual effects–stifling new developments, suppressing the emergence of new forms of politics, or failing to see other possible directions. Global in scope and including writings from Leftist struggles, victories, and defeats, this collection of essays ponders the possibility of a winning movement with lasting change and presents opportunities in all corners of the world.

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