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Theories of social change: the basis of activist strategy

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  1. Theories of social change:the basis of activist strategy Acknowledgement to Coover V, Deacon E, Esser C, et al. Resource manual for a living revolution: a handbook of skills and tools for social change activists. Philadelphia: New Society, 1985.

  2. What are the drivers of change? • Innovation, markets, profits, investment • Planned policy driven change • Environmental change • Invasion • Migration • Revolution • Others?

  3. What are the levers of change (that I have access to)? • Voting • Petitioning and advocacy • Demonstrating • Alliances • What else?

  4. What are the theories of social change which inform our practice? • Reflect on episodes from our own practice • What were our assumptions • about people, power, structures, • about the links between micro action and macro change • about how change happens

  5. Can we read the theories of social change from other people’s stories of practice? • Infer theories of change from stories of practice • eg the Indian Right to Health campaign

  6. Studying case histories • Studying episodes, movements, campaigns, traditions • Framework of analysis • narrative: context, preparation, organisation, action, reaction, consequences • levels: personal, community, national, global; • term: short, medium and long • disciplines: political economy, gender and race, • Talking theory • the participants’ theory? • our theorising (interpreting) the story?

  7. To what extent are we drawing from pre-existing theories? • What are the theories of social change we might draw from: • Marxism, anarchism, feminism, religions, non-violent protest, personal change, institutional reform, cabalism?

  8. Strategic planning • Goals and vision • Achievable objectives • Context and environment • SWOT • Existing programs and activities • new programs and activities • Developing the organisation • structures, procedures, cultures • Evaluation

  9. Scenarios of change • Working on our immediate challenges • how might things be different (brainstorming)? • scenarios of change; how might a different world come into being? • what are the (plausible) dynamics of change? • implications for different players and how would they react? • implications for strategy?

  10. Primary health care (A-A,1978) • “... requires and promotes maximum community and individual self-reliance and participationin the planning, organization, operation and control of primary health care, making fullestuse of local, national and other available resources; and to this end develops throughappropriate education the ability of communities to participate” • What is the theory of change here?

  11. Alma-Ata • How does PHC develop the ability of communities to participate? • What are the scenarios of change you can read into this quote? • How does community participation affect health?