Community Organizing for Social Change

Mark Chupp

This course focuses on how to design and facilitate the social change process at a community level. We will learn from  strategies participants have already been using and learn new strategies in community building and organizing. The course explores traditional Alinsky organizing and transformative approaches to organizing that include those based on social movements and the work of Paulo Freire. We will learn advances in social networking and community building that influence how communities organize today. Participants will learn social change processes on two continua—strengths versus needs and collaborative versus confrontational approaches. Across approaches, students learn to design and implement each phase of the social change process with a core group of the affected community, from framing an issue through assessment and power analysis to mobilizing and empowering community actors to affect short and long-term change.

Participants will develop skills in issue identification, civic engagement, empowerment, and inclusion. Participants will examine various new approaches to engagement, from social networking to community building. Recognizing that everyday people and historically oppressed groups are often excluded or ignored in current political processes, this course will explore strategies for transforming systems and the mental models that maintain them.