Models of Social Action

Models of Social Action

There are two main models of social action as given by Britto (1984). They are:
1) Elitist Social Action
2) Popular Social Action
When social action is carried out by the elite exclusively or with marginal participation of the masses, it is termed as ‘elitist social action’. Elite social action is essentially a group action. The other model of social action is termed ‘popular social action’ in which either the elite incorporate the clientele in the process or the beneficiaries themselves carry it out. Three sub-models can be identified in each type of social action.

Elitist Social Action: It is the action initiated and conducted by the elites for the benefit of the masses. In this model of social action, general public or the target group is not involved. The three sub-models of elitist social action are:
1)    Legislative Social Action Model: It is a process in which elite groups conduct studies on the gravity, extent and urgency of the problems, create public opinion and lobby to try to modify the social policy. Here, the general population or the target group is not involved directly in the process. Some elites either themselves or along with like-minded individuals take-up the social issues, which they think can be related to the pressing problem. They do lobbying and other similar activities in order to achieve some benefits for the entire segment of people or prevent some maladies from affecting their clientele or to remove some problem that is hindering their growth. How is such type of social action conducted? The elites set up or be a part of commissions and conduct studies on the social problem they consider crucial.

After conducting studies on the gravity, extent and urgency of the problem, they chalk out scientific, feasible interventions, create public opinion and do lobbying. Following this, they discuss the matter with the concerned officials and Ministers and persuade them to take up appropriate interventions. In this way the elites get the rule, law and appropriation approved. They also assist in proper implementation of the new policy.
Process of this ..
·        Identification of Problems
·        Indept study of problems
·        Forming commission
·        Awerness building
·        Forming policy and making laws                                                                                   

2) Economic Sanction Model: In this type of social action, the elites, by gaining control over some economic, social, political or religious weapon try to obtain benefits for the society. In this process, the elites gain control over some economic resources and use it as a threat to obtain benefits for their clientele. Normally the elites want to take in control social, economic, religious institutions for their own interest. They take different types of programs such hand cash to vulnerable family, during one’s marriage, death and donate money to Madrashas, Mosque , Temples in Waz-Mahfil etc.

3) Direct Physical Model: It is a process where elites take the law in their own hands and punish those responsible for the cause of injustice and thus try to bring about benefits to their clientele. Sometimes the elites help others from their own and it comes from humanity, brotherhoodness, spiritual effect, self-motivated, hope to fame and name or popularity.

Popular Social Action: It is the second type of social action model given by Britto. In the popular social action model, a large section of people with or without elite participation is involved. They aim their confrontational/conflictive action against the unjust and dehumanizing structures, agencies, policies, procedures or oppressive agents. Direct mobilization model, dialectical model and the conscientization models are the sub-types of social action. These models differ from each other in some respects and they have some common features, as mentioned below:
1)    Conscientization Model: It is based on Paulo Friere’s concept of creating awareness among masses through education. Paulo Friere developed the concept of conscientization, which means educating the people about the oppression, oppressed and the oppressor (their own position in the two groups), their inter-relationship, the power structure and ways to liberate from the oppressed or oppressor class. Friere maintains that the situation when the oppressed and/or oppressor are conscientized, there exists motivating possibilities for the true liberation of mankind as well as for the most efficient domestication of man. He believed that education can be a tool for re-education and social action. Conscientization process results not merely in learning of literary skills, but it is intended to assist the participants to liberate themselves from all structures, which inhibit the realization of their full humanity through action-reflection-action. This form of social action involves maximum participation of the concerned population.

People are given opportunity to analyse and understand the social structures, which circumscribe their life. To know is to change; and so they are invited to transform the structures through the means of their choice. As a result of humanization, it is hoped that the oppressed do not become oppressors in their turn. In the present situation, this model of social action is being extensively used in several countries.

2)    Dialectical Mobilization Model: It helps in promoting conflict to exploit the contradictions in a system, with the belief that a better alternative system will emerge as a result. Dialectic means the art of logical disputation. This process involves an initial proposition (thesis), which is inadequate and generates a counter proposition (antithesis) and the rational context of both are taken up into the synthesis. In other words when individuals or groups take up extreme positions and argue, the position of one may be taken as the thesis and that of the other as antithesis.
The result of their argumentation, a certain conclusion acceptable to both, may be termed synthesis. Thus, the posing of contradictory positions and arriving at a better conclusion is termed dialectics in logic. Actionists who follow a dialectical process take the logical to the ontological. They assume that all forces in nature and human institutions, clash and develop. Every institution and every social force contains in itself the element of its own disintegration. They expose the contradictions within a system, promote conflicts and expect a higher-order-result in the social-economic political structures.

3)    Direct Mobilization Model of Popular Social Action: In direct mobilization model, specific issues are taken up by the social actionists and the masses are mobilized to resort to protests and strikes to achieve the objectives. In this process, the leaders or elites pick up specific grievances or issues that are affecting the people at large. They analyse the causal factors, which are at the root of the injustice. They formulate the alternative policies and procedures and mobilize the masses for protest activities for the purpose of achieving the set objectives. By this model , thesis groups are who participate and initiate this programe and anti-thesis groups are who set opposition to this programe and then by managing, convincing, motivating about the goals and objectives of the programe when the opponent support this programe then it’s called synthesis.

The social action might be initiated by elites or the beneficiaries themselves or even by the state or government. The target of action may be individuals, groups or communities. The action may either visualize their participation, or only that of elites/institutions with people as recipients. In addition, the locus of action again may be state, institutions, associations, groups, and people, and its coverage may be confined to grassroot level, or may even extend to intermediate and macro levels. The action may be active (a need is perceived by an individual, group or agency and becomes the cause of action) or reactive (the action is a response to a situation created by an earlier action).

Taking these factors into account, a framework of social action has been described below:
Models of Social Action
1)     Institutional (state)
2)     Institutional (Social )
3)     Social Institutional
4)     Populist/Movemental
5)     Gandhian 
§  Militant non-violent tradition
§  Gentle non-violent tradition
§  Citizenship model of constructive work

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