6 Principles of Social Action

6 Principles of Social Action

Recently, I found a dowry case in Thane, Maharashtra. I got to know, a pregnant woman has been beaten by her in laws and husband. They were demanding some cash to her parents. In this incidents she miscarriage her baby and injured. Such inhuman activities need to be redressed in right forum. A strong social action need be formalized for stopping theses kind of inhuman activities.

In the rural part of the odisha, 5 men lost their life in June 2020 by consuming toxic alcohol. They used to drink alcohol on dailbasis and beating their wife and children and making chaos in society. Inorder, to eradicate this a strong social action policy need to be formalized.

Read more topics on Social Action 

 So, let us discuss “Social Action”.

Social Action is an auxiliary method of social work, Out of 6 methods, it is one of the important to all. It is a method where working with people, it remained a debatable issue among the social work profession. It is an organized effort to change or improve both the social and economic conditions of society. Some problems are like, dowry system, poor housing, alcoholism, health, education including various social issues related to the child, women, adolescents, etc. It is taken as a transformational practice to meet the objective of promoting well-being to bring change in the social system.

Social action is regarded as a supplement to professional social work. It has remained a contentious issue among social work experts as one of the strategies of working with clients. Social action is a type of social work that involves mobilising the masses in order to effect fundamental changes in the social system or to prevent negative developments. It refers to a concerted effort to alter or improve social and economic structures. Some societal issues, such as the dowry system, the degradation of natural resources, drunkenness, poor housing, health, and so on, can be addressed by social action.

Why Social Action Needed In Community Development

Social action as a practice is not new in India. The tradition of influencing public policy, for eradicating social evils, goes back to the nineteenth century social reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy. The legacy of Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Mahatma Gandhi, Thanthai periyar and Ambedkar gives significant insight into the indigenous and effective advocacy methods practised during the pre-independence period.  In India, there have been social action efforts on issues related to environmental degradation, rights of the dalits and tribals, women‘s rights and civil rights, nuclear installations, land alienation of tribals, child labour, unorganised working sector, drug and forest policies and many other issues.

Objectives of Social Action

a)     To bring improvement in mass condition and problems

b)     To participate in decision-making

c)     To create a redistribution of power and resources

d)     To bring prevention of needs

e)     To influence policies, practices and institution

Principles of social action

1-The principle of Credibility Building:

It is the work of building a public image of the movement's leadership, organization, and participants as champions of justice, rectitude, and truth. It aids in gaining proper recognition from the opponent, the general public, and the movement's periphery participants.

Credibility can be gained in one or more of the following ways: 

As a method of professional social work, social action has remained an issue with a wide range of opinions regarding the scope, strategies and skills to be used, its status defines the method of social work and it is relevant to social work practice. Many authors describe mass betterment through propaganda and social legislation to improve social legislation and provide health welfare services to the poorer.

1-Gestures of goodwill towards the opponent:- For example, World War I broke out while Gandhiji was in England. He enlisted students to work in the British Ambulance Corps on the Western Front. Gandhiji's goodwill gestures toward his opponents portrayed him as a great humanitarian figure. His nonviolent mindset aided in the credibility-building process with his adversaries, the British.

2-Example setting: Dr. Rajendra Singh, the 2001 Magsaysay Award laureate, has created precedents of water conservation in numerous villages of Rajasthan by building check dams and mobilising village resources (manpower, cash, and kind) before embarking on a much bigger scale water-conservation initiative.

3-Selection of typical, urgently felt problems for struggles:  Leaders gain credibility by emphasising the people's perceived needs. Water scarcity has continued to be one of Rajasthan's most important issues. Dr. R. Singh's credibility was naturally established when he commenced his participation on this problem.

4-Success: Successful efforts contribute to the credibility of the leader and the concept he or she preaches. As a result of Singh's successful work in several villages in Rajasthan, the state government has now come forward to offer its assistance. Local leaders from nearby communities, as well as NGO specialists, sought him for assistance.

 2-Principle of Legitimisation

The process of convincing the target group and the general public that the movement's goals are ethically correct is known as legitimization.
Making a case for the movement as a moral obligation would be perfect. Theological, philosophical, legal-technical, and public opinion avenues may be used by movement leaders to determine the viability of the movement's goals. Legitimation is a never-ending process. Leaders justify their actions prior to initiating the programme. As the struggle progresses and the leader adds additional dimensions to their programme, more rationale is given and new arguments are presented. Leaders aren't the only ones who have to justify their actions. Followers, too, contribute to the legitimization process by their engagement. The three ways to legitimisation are as follows:
  • The theological and religious approach to legitimisation- During the independence movement, Gandhiji adopted this strategy. He urged people to serve dharma by revolting against British injustice.
  • A moral approach to legitimisation:-Through peaceful marches, persuasive speeches, the use of the media, organizing, and a drawing competition among school students, members of the Campaign Against Child Labor has contributed to creating an environment in the country that is free of child maltreatment. As a result, hiring children in any occupation is regarded immoral, and it becomes the moral responsibility of all responsible citizens to ensure that all children under the age of 14 attend school rather than work.
  • Legal-technical approach to legitimization-People involved in the 'Campaign for People's Right to Health' have argued that the government's commitment to 'Health for All' is founded on human rights issues, fundamental rights, and the government's commitment to 'Health for All.' It gives the movement legitimacy.

3-Principle of Dramatisation:

Dramatisation is a mass mobilisation strategy in which movement leaders use emotive appeals to heroism, dramatic news management, unique methods, obnoxious slogans, and other techniques to mobilise the populace into action. This principle of dramatisation is used by almost every leader who wants to mobilise the populace. This principle was used by Tilak, Marx, Guevara, Periyar, and the leaders of the Assam struggle. Dramatization processes include the following:
  • Use of songs: Catchy songs that promote a movement's purpose can have a significant influence.
Local talent was enlisted to produce songs to stir the people's zeal during the freedom movement in Bardoli. Several choirs were formed, and they travelled by bullock cart from village to village, singing satyagrahic songs at various assemblies.
    • Powerful speeches: This is also an important method of inspiring the public and creating a dramatic impression.Gandhiji's call to sacrifice and martyrdom was stirring, and it included a special call to action for the youth.
      • Role of women: The strategy of having renowned women lead marchers provided the movement a dramatic effect. Kasturba Gandhi launched the civil disobedience movement in Rajkot by facing arrest initially.
      • Boycott:-: Boycotting is a powerful tool for influencing public opinion, both when the attempt succeeds and when it fails. Gandhiji employed picketing and 'hartals,' or voluntary closures of stores and other organizations, to dramatise the issue.
      • Slogans:  Jal hi Jeevan, Bharat chodo, Some of the phrases used to offer dramatic effect to various social campaigns include Say No to Drugs, HIV/AIDS– Knowledge is Prevention, and so on.

      4-Principle of Multiple Strategies: 

      There are two types of development approaches: conflictual and nonconflictual. A program can be classified as political, economic, or social based on its principal aim.
      The basket principle denotes the use of a multi-pronged strategy that includes a mix of tactics and different sorts of programmes.From their community development expertise, Zeltman and Duncan have identified four development strategies. These have been framed with the intention of being used in social action. They are as follows:

      Educational strategy:- Individual, group, and mass education are all used in this technique to educate potential participants. One of the most basic criteria of social action is this. People or target groups are given the information they require regarding the problem. People are motivated and convinced to join the movement when they are made aware of it. During the fight against child labour, a network of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) dealing with children was formed, and these NGOs worked together to raise awareness in their various areas using educational strategies. Demonstration education is a key part of this philosophy. The demonstration has a significant impact on the target population's information retention.
      Persuasive strategy: Persuasive strategy is the use of a series of actions/procedures to persuade others to accept a specific point of view by reasoning, encouraging, and inducing them to do so. Gandhiji employed this method by seeking out opportunities for discourse with his opponents on a regular basis. At each gathering, the emphasis was on converting new converts through oratory and a polite presentation of ideas.
      Facilitative strategy: This refers to a series of procedures and actions designed to make it easier for people from all walks of life to join the mass movement.Even illiterate youngsters could mimic Gandhians and join in the National Liberation Movement since the programmes they designed were frequently so easy and risk-free. Gandhiji did not go into the practicalities of salt production in his salt satyagraha. He just instructed his people to boil seawater to make edible salt. Its simplicity encouraged more participation.

      Power strategy:The employment of coercion to achieve the intended goals is referred to as a power tactic. Coercion can take many different forms. Gandhiji used social ostracism as a tool for gaining power. 

      5-Principle of Dual Approach

      Any activist must create counter-systems or resurrect some long-forgotten system that is supposed to benefit the mobilised public on a self-help basis without involving the opponent.

      This is a natural demand as a result of the opponents' endeavour to undermine the system they have established/maintained. Together with conflictual satyagrahis programmes, Gandhi's constructive labour programme served this purpose in a minor way. Gandhians used or attempted to use a dual method in their mobilisation, as seen by this cooperative effort.

      6-Principle of Manifold Programmes:

       It entails the creation of a number of programmes with the ultimate goal of mass mobilisation. These are divided into three categories: social, economic, and political programmes. Dr. Rajendra Singh has taken on the topic of water conservation as a collection of initiatives. His water conservation aided the locals, especially the women, who had to go long distances to obtain water. It aided in the production of crops and improved animal husbandry, resulting in increased economic benefits. There were direct and indirect dispute settlements with local leaders, panchayat authorities, and the state government during the movement.


      As we knew that, social action is a secondary method of professional social work, it is to be used to bring or prevent changes in the social system through the process of making people aware of their situation. The social, political, and economic influence on their lives. This is done by mobilizing, awarding them to organize for bringing needs to desired through the use of appropriate worked out applying strategies and the exception of violence. Many examples can clarify, social action is socio-religious movements in the medieval period targeted against superstition, orthodox religious practices, and various other social evils. The underlying philosophy of these social actions was humanitarian in nature based on the principles of justice, equality, and fraternity.

      Social Action is a secondary method of professional social work. It brings social change through the mass program, propaganda, rally, Dharana, and through any more activities only the reason is to prevent social problems like; child labor, women empowerment, substance abuse, etc. can be tackled through social action. Social Action can be done by more than one person. It influences others positively.

       The primary objective is to bring the solution in social change to the mass problem, improve mass condition, redistribute power and human resources.


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