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Janki Andharia Professor, JTCDM Tata Institute of Social Sciences 26 th August, 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Janki Andharia Professor, JTCDM Tata Institute of Social Sciences 26 th August, 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 Janki Andharia Professor, JTCDM Tata Institute of Social Sciences 26 th August, 2012

2  History of CO- CD India  CO in a disciplinary arena  Voluntary sector and social movements  Discontent of 1970s and Emergency  Impact on academia..  Debates and contestation  Constructive tension with social work  A Perspective

3  Community development is a way of strengthening civil society by prioritising the actions of communities, and their perspectives in the development of social, economic and environmental policy.  It seeks the empowerment of local communities, taken to mean both geographical communities, communities of interest or identity and communities organising around specific themes or policy initiatives.  It strengthens the capacity of people as active citizens through their community groups, organisations and networks;

4  and strengthens the capacity of institutions and agencies (public, private and non-governmental) to work in dialogue with citizens to shape and determine change in their communities.  It plays a crucial role in supporting active democratic life by promoting the autonomous voice of disadvantaged and vulnerable communities.  It has a set of core values/social principles covering human rights, social inclusion, equality and respect for diversity; and specific skills and knowledge base

5  India- world’s largest democracy, 7 th largest country  Accounts for 2.4 % of the world’s surface area but supports 17 % of the world’s population.  One of the world’s oldest civilization with a rich and diverse cultural heritage  In its 65 years of independence- considerable progress- self sufficiency in agriculture, 10 th industrialized country and 6 th to go into outer space  On the flip side India houses the largest number of poor in a single country  80 % belong to the socially disadvantaged groups (SC, ST, OBC)

6  A new nation free from nearly 200 years of colonial rule - several challenges.  Feudalism with widespread poverty  Very low literacy levels  Social and economic inequalities  Over 90% of the population lived in rural areas where agriculture was dependent on the monsoons and the standard of living was very low  Power and wealth were concentrated in the hands of a few.

7  Although enormous efforts were made to implement redistributive measures such as land reforms, progress was slow and the socialist goals met only partial success  The Five-year Plans were initiated in 1951, aimed at economic growth and enhanced investment rates to address poverty  During each of the 5 Year Plans, government involvement in social welfare increased, creating the need for trained personnel in community welfare.  CD strategy of involving people in taking action to meet their needs was pioneered in India in the 1950s.

8 Range of social movements and grassroots initiatives entailing collective assertion and action CO – Redefined  Deeper faculty engagements in issues  Grounding in complexities of field  Sharper practice perspectives and theoretical underpinnings  Negotiating spaces with clearer ideological positioning  Critique of policies and programme ineffectiveness.  Growing political debates on issues of poverty and social justice, social action on several issues CO: A method in Social Work  Community studies  CD approach adopted Changing perspectives of CO : Drawing from sectoral developments, political and social debates on ‘development’ and social justice- constructive tension with social work Critique of social work and its politically “neutral” positioning, its western moorings SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION, ACCESS TO ENTITLEMENTS, PRO- POOR, SOCIAL JUSTICE, EQUALITY, DIGNITY, RIGHTS OF MARGINALIZED Voluntary sector: Diverse  Reformers  Charity organizations,  Locality development,  Welfare services Community Development in India: Government Programs CO – TOWARDS A REFLEXIVE POSTURE IN SOCIAL WORK Academia Trends Practice 1980s 1970s-1980s 1990s-2000 Historical Trajectory of CO and CD in India Ideological Orientation 1950s and 1960s

9  Launched and carried out by the government, without the involvement of any voluntary organizations  It remained rural specific with a block identified as the community.  Subsequently, a large body of literature showed that the impact of these programmes on poverty alleviation was limited.

10  The CD strategy of welfare and outreach was criticized as  a top-down, centrally-guided and centrally-sponsored program  with a management approach rooted in a liberal ideological framework.  At the policy level, it was abandoned in the 1960s in favor of the more growth-oriented agricultural development program  From 1970s - Growth of voluntary sector and social movements –mobilizing around class and poverty concerns

11  Historically, as a discipline, community studies developed as a subset of sociology through the 1880s to 1920s  The term community organization - first introduced in the US during World War I by sociologists and adult educators, although the intellectual foundation of CO was laid through the work and experiences of community workers during the 1920s  The Lane Report of 1939 to the National Conference of Social Work identified CO as a field of social work practice, and it has been taught largely in schools of social work since 1940s.

12  In India too, schools of social work introduced community organization as a method of social work in the 1950s  Much of the curriculum of social work was imported from North America and teachers emulated western approaches and methods with considerable enthusiasm of introducing a new profession.  The methods were differentiated by identifying units of intervention (individuals, groups, communities) and casework was one of the most dominant methods in social work in India in its early years of inception

13  Internationally through 1960s and 1970s community studies were marginalized within sociology, although community practice and community organization grew within social work during this period  Several international journals -dedicated to the theme of community development and community practice.  Gradually a distinctive body of literature around community studies developed through individual contributions from across disciplinary boundaries— sociology, anthropology, geography and urban studies.

14  Disillusioned youth- benefits of devt did not reach the majority of Indian villages  Several nationalist and idealist youth began to address issues of education, health, poverty, the practice of bonded labor and so on  All these impacted upon CO practice and inspired social workers some of whom joined these groups.  Mobilization of farmers, workers, students, youth, tribals, dalits and women India around class and poverty concerns  Non party political formations and mass based organisations

15  Some authors view the emergence of grassroots groups in the 1970s and 80s as a revival of the CD strategy  Emphasis not only on decentralized and community-based services, but also on political action.

16  1970s and the post emergency period saw a renewed enthusiasm for activism due to its oppressive nature.  A number of action groups were formed-  Challenged feudal and dominant relations, campaigned for human rights (struggle for land rights, minimum wages, liberation of bonded labour, fought against forest contractors and agitated against construction of big dams such as Silent Valley Project and Koel Karo Project).

17  It is now recognized that the institutional, social and political processes of welfare and development were led more effectively by the voluntary sector.  This sector grew as ideologies, perspectives, approaches and strategies expanded.  The sector had no “professional” boundaries- Doctors, engineers, political science graduates, lawyers and people from diverse backgrounds and disciplines committed themselves to development work.

18  Social activists organized for asserting rights of people to determine decisions that affected their lives, emphasized collective action, mutual support and active participation as citizens of a democratic nation.  They challenged feudal practices, demanded resources and greater accountability from the bureaucracy and elected representatives.  These strategies and their successes forced a re- examination of the CD approach within academia. The divide between community development of social work and that of grassroots mobilization increased.

19  Compelled a review of the way CD was taught in the academia.  Since social workers in the academia were slow in theorizing and bringing in these practice perspectives, they continued to reproduce western and conventional ideas of “problem fixing.” rather than address structural issues  The spirit of critical engagement with the social context was lacking

20  Community practitioners learnt and borrowed from other professions and disciplines as well as contributed in a vast measure to this process.  They successfully initiated and aligned themselves with progressive forces within each of the development sectors, a trend not as pervasive in the developed countries where social workers operated within 'statutory welfare' and were increasingly criticized for being “an arm of the state.”

21  The wide gulf between social work educators relying on western texts and community practitioners in India has been extensively discussed and critiqued at seminars and workshops of 198s and 1990s  A conscious effort was made by faculty members of certain universities to ground the course on CO and the social work curriculum in perspective building and political analysis.  This was done through active engagement in a range of processes, which reflect the trajectory of the evolution of the CO perspective. It also marks the constructive turmoil within social work.

22  Challenging the apolitical ‘person in need’, ‘problem solving’, ‘adaptation’, ‘improving social functioning’ –approaches or language of social work  Over prescriptive and one dimensional application of ‘solutions’ from above  Constructing “clients” of bureaucratic provisions or “targets” of social work interventions  Totalizing frameworks of social work curriculum borrowed from the west often undermined cultural specificities and contexts The wide gulf between social work educators relying on western texts and community practitioners in India has been extensively discussed and critiqued at seminars and workshops. It is during this period that a conscious effort was made by faculty members of certain universities to ground the course on CO and the social work curriculum in perspective building and political analysis. This was done through active engagement in a range of processes, which reflect the trajectory of the evolution of the CO perspective presented earlier. It also marks the constructive turmoil within social work.

23  A few individual teachers of CO were decisively influenced by these experiences and other writings. They encouraged the questioning of the continued validity of the language of “social work” and the hegemonic tendencies within the discipline.  However teachers who inculcated and advanced the premises of locating the centrality of marginalized communities within the core domain of community organization in the class rooms as also in the sites of practice, themselves remained on the margins of the dominant paradigm of social work in India.!! The wide gulf between social work educators relying on western texts and community practitioners in India has been extensively discussed and critiqued at seminars and workshops. It is during this period that a conscious effort was made by faculty members of certain universities to ground the course on CO and the social work curriculum in perspective building and political analysis. This was done through active engagement in a range of processes, which reflect the trajectory of the evolution of the CO perspective presented earlier. It also marks the constructive turmoil within social work.

24  Unless practice oriented disciplines accept the complexity of a given social context and the ambiguities, contradictions, and inconsistencies, they will continue to have a myopic and fragmented approach, and will fail to address in more encompassing ways, the lives and struggles of people they work with.  The preparedness to question the basic ‘tools’ and methodologies, bringing alternate discourse and practices in the academia closer to the daily lives and struggles of people is continuous a challenge. The wide gulf between social work educators relying on western texts and community practitioners in India has been extensively discussed and critiqued at seminars and workshops. It is during this period that a conscious effort was made by faculty members of certain universities to ground the course on CO and the social work curriculum in perspective building and political analysis. This was done through active engagement in a range of processes, which reflect the trajectory of the evolution of the CO perspective presented earlier. It also marks the constructive turmoil within social work.

25  Within social work, assuming a critical, self reflexive posture has invited criticism from senior social work educators occupying positions of power and authority.  Many of them subscribe to a fixed posture of traditional social work and push for a homogenized view of social work in their respective universities in India.  Those who advocate alternate views are sometimes confronted with a subtle allegation of “lack of loyalty” to the discipline!! The wide gulf between social work educators relying on western texts and community practitioners in India has been extensively discussed and critiqued at seminars and workshops. It is during this period that a conscious effort was made by faculty members of certain universities to ground the course on CO and the social work curriculum in perspective building and political analysis. This was done through active engagement in a range of processes, which reflect the trajectory of the evolution of the CO perspective presented earlier. It also marks the constructive turmoil within social work.

26  The perspective and the disciplinary frameworks used by a practitioner offer different routes to the articulation of priorities and contain different “political sub texts” of social change.  Implicit in these political sub-texts are different ideologies and views of practitioners.  It is here that the tension between ad hoc provisioning of services within social work practice and the political and ideological positioning of community organization becomes evident. (CSR) The wide gulf between social work educators relying on western texts and community practitioners in India has been extensively discussed and critiqued at seminars and workshops. It is during this period that a conscious effort was made by faculty members of certain universities to ground the course on CO and the social work curriculum in perspective building and political analysis. This was done through active engagement in a range of processes, which reflect the trajectory of the evolution of the CO perspective presented earlier. It also marks the constructive turmoil within social work.

27  In India, CO as a process encompasses all efforts that seek to redefine power relations which contribute to the experience of discrimination and marginalization.  Therefore, CO entails efforts not just at the level of communities but with social structures and with democratic institutions of governance.

28  In India, progressive community organization practice takes as its basis, the inequalities in society manifested through processes of marginalization, discrimination or disempowerment of groups. These processes have also implied loss of control over traditional community resources.  Therefore CO is a para-political process, aimed towards redistribution of resources and power in favor of the poor and the vulnerable.

29  It is seen as a means as well as an end, where collective processes are sought to be institutionalized in order to sustain the community’s capacity to bring about change as well as enhance responsiveness of state institutions (legislature, executive and judiciary) to concerns of social justice.  Grassroots organizing, efforts at improving access to services and/or their quality and advocacy, are aspects of CO process.

30  While analyzing and addressing inequality and discrimination in society, various factors— including caste, class, religion, age, and gender— assume significance.  These factors are also critical in disaggregating communities, in analyzing the complexities of inequality and in determining the nature of intervention strategies.  The conceptual framework of the Rights Based Approach to development assumes significance in this context.

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