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Understanding Social Action

Understanding Social Action

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Published by S.Rengasamy
A compilation of reading material to introduce Social Action, Social Advocacy, Saul Alinsky to MSW students complimenting the class room teaching
A compilation of reading material to introduce Social Action, Social Advocacy, Saul Alinsky to MSW students complimenting the class room teaching

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Published by: S.Rengasamy on Mar 15, 2009
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01/23/2014

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SOCIOLOGICAL MEANING SOCIAL WORK /C.O. MEANING
It refers to an individual’s social In the C.O. work, it is abehavior which is intended to group/collective/ organized effortinfluence the actions of one or to change social andmore persons. economic conditions, Any expenditure of effort by a group as such; all- conscious or unconscious, concerted orcollective effort. The term ‘social’ means “interaction of individuals in society”, “mutualrelations of men or classes”; it also includes political economic, cultural and ethical aspects.Used as a prefix to action, it carries the connotation of a collectivity and an organizationworking to achieve an end. The element of spontaneity and consciousness is particularlystressed by the term social.
Lobbying is the practice of influencing decisions made by government. It includes all attempts toinfluence legislators and officials, whether by other legislators, constituents or organized groups. A
lobbyist
is a person who tries to influence legislation on behalf of a special interest or a member of alobby. Governments often define and regulate organized group lobbying
UNDERSTANDING SOCIAL ACTION
Compiled byS.RengasamyMadurai Institute of Social Sciences
Social action is not an alien concept to India, even though its origin is attributed to the west. Thehistory of social action in this country dates back to eighteenth and nineteenth centuries whenreformers fought against the evils of sati, child marriage, widowhood practices for women and
 
Understanding Social Action - Social Action for Social Workers -_S.Rengasamy
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ASSUMPTIONS OF SOCIAL ACTION
1). Assumption regarding the present power structure.2). Assumption regarding the nature of social welfare delivery mechanism3). Assumption regarding the economic growth.4). Assumption regarding the welfare state5). Assumption regarding the nature of human problems.6). Assumption regarding the human rights
We claim that democracy is the government of the people, by the people and for the people.But in reality democracy seems to be thegovernment off (silence) the people, buy thepeople (to get votes) and far (away from) thepeople
the devadasi system. Mahatma Gandhi with his principle of non-violence used social action toraise the status of women and dalits and brought about fundamental changes in socialrelationships in India. This legacy still continues as various contemporary, voluntary and professional groups are joining hands to oppose, or promote public policies and programsaffecting the common people.Of late, social welfare discipline in India realized that it can’t makeany dent in the field of mass poverty. Social was thus conceived as a method of social work whenthe inadequacy of welfare measures led to the need of social reform in the beginning of the present century in the west and around the 1960s in India
1. ASSUMPTION REGARDING THE PRESENT POWER STRUCTURE
:
The advocates of ‘democracy’ feel that “contemporary democratic system” operating for the benefit of ‘most groups’ and consider theexisting social structure fundamentally soundand responsive to the people’s needs. Whether it is true? Experience shows that Government isinaccessible to most of the people. Governmenthas become a power center, with a vestedinterest to maintain the status quo of themicroscopic minority. Politics and Government is a power center, through which the rich and the powerful exercise control over the weak and the poor. This alienated men from the society become non-participants in the social life. This is not a healthy situation. To overcome this, thedisadvantaged segments of the community need to be organized to gain more power to equitablydistribute the resources and to attain the principles of democracy and social justice.
2. ASSUMPTION REGARDING THE NATURE OF SOCIAL WELFARE DELIVERY MECHANISM:
Industrial revolution brought many benefits. Some gained the benefits. Many people fell behind.They became the victims of industrial revolution and they needed help to survive. Social work offered this help through provision of services. Social workers ‘helped’, ‘enabled’ and ‘evenmanaged’ the victims of the system to adjust to it. Which is the right path? Advising the victimsto adjust with the sick society or changing the system to adjust to the needs of the members.
3. ASSUMPTION REGARDING THE ECONOMIC GROWTH:
There has been rising standard of life as a whole. But the distribution of income, it was felt wasincreasingly to the disadvantage of the poor section of the population. The oft quoted ‘Mattheweffect’, i.e. ‘rich are becoming richer and poor are becoming poor’ was felt keenly. Improvingeconomic condition along with social and psychological conditions of the poor was urgentlysought, so that the poor could play equal and effective role in the society.
4. ASSUMPTION REGARDING THE WELFARE STATE:
The welfare state is said to include all government functions that lead to intervention in thesociety for the sake of securing human well being with the exception of military intervention.But what is the nature of these interventions? The social services are products of, and responsiveto a social order that values economic growth and political stability above human well being and
 
Understanding Social Action - Social Action for Social Workers -_S.Rengasamy
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From this we can derive three hypotheses1.
 
Welfare is a power game; through which the rich and the powerful exercise control over the weak and the poor.2.
 
The rich corner the gains of the welfare, but for that the poor has to pay.3. There is no way to alleviate the situation unless one socializes the welfare and the clients of thesystem take over its administration.
uses social services and other helping professions try to preserve and strengthen the ideologies, behaviors and structures of the status quo. Impoverished group remains despite the welfare state.
5. ASSUMPTION REGARDING THE NATURE OF HUMAN PROBLEMS
Welfare needs of the people can arise not because of any personal draw backs or shortcoming of the needy, they are caused by the inherent defects in the social system. Social action situates the problems of human rights and injustice in a systemic perspective. Personal troubles and publicissues are interlinked. It must be understood in terms of public issues.
6. ASSUMPTION REGARDING THE HUMAN RIGHTS
 
Welfare services should be provided to the people as a matter of right, which they may be able toclaim.
BASIC ASSUMPTION OF SOCIAL ACTION
There is a certain power center with a vested interest, which controls the policies andadministration of welfare services in each country, which needs to be corrected.
SOCIAL ACTION MEANING AND DEFINITIONS
The term ‘social’ means “interaction of individuals in society”, “mutual relations of men or classes”; it also includes political economic, cultural and ethical aspects. Used as a prefix toaction, it carries the connotation of a collectivity and an organization working to achieve an end.The element of spontaneity and consciousness is particularly stressed by the term social.
DEFINITIONS:
1.
 
DICTIONARY OF SOCILOGY
:
Any expenditure of effort by a group as such; all-conscious or unconscious, concerted or collective effort
2.
 
MARY RICHMOND (1922)
 
Social action is mass betterment through propaganda and sociallegislation; a method of bringing about a change in the social environment of the clients.
3.
 
PETER LEE (1937):
Social action seems to suggest efforts directed towards changes in law or social structure or towards the initiation of new movements for the modification of currentsocial practices.4.
 
LR GRACE. L. COYEE:
Social action is the attempt to change the social environment in ways,which will make life more satisfactory. It aims to affect not individuals but socialinstitutions, laws, customs and communities.5.
 
Social action is “a systematic, conscious effort directed to influence the basic social conditionand policies out of which arise the problems of social adjustment and maladjustment to whichour service as social workers is addressed.6.
 
Social action is described as an organized group effort to solve mass social problems or tofurther socially desirable objectives by attempting to influence the basic social and economicconditions or practices.

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veerapathman added this note
I like all the notes about social action and it is uplifting my knowlege about social action and Mr.Rengasamy is my lecturer and also i am now totally in this field by practically and also by emotionally. Veerapathman 9945247370
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excellent.........very helpful for exam
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excellent..very good book
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very good book. thank u

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