Principles of Social Action

Principles of social action

1-Principle of Legitimization: 

Legitimization is the process of convincing the target group and the public that the movement objectives are morally right. The ideal would be making a case for the movement as a moral imperative. Leaders of the movement might use theological, philosophical, legal-technical, public opinion paths to establish the tenability of the movement’s objectives. Legitimization is a continuous process. Before launching the program, the leaders justify their actions. Subsequently, as the conflict exhilarates to higher stages and as the leader adds new dimension to their programme, further justification is added, and fresh arguments are put forth. Such justification is not done by leaders alone. During their participation, followers too, contribute to the legitimization process. Following are the three approaches to legitimization:

 1) Theological and religious approach to legitimization: Gandhiji, used this approach during the freedom movement. He appealed to serve dharma by revolting against the injustice of Britishers. 

2) Moral approach to legitimization: People associated in the Campaign Against Child Labor, through peaceful rallies, persuasive speeches, use of media, organizing, drawing competition among school children, have helped to create an environment against child abuse in the country. As a result, employing children in any occupation is considered morally wrong and it becomes moral obligation to all conscious citizens to make sure that all children below the age of 14 years go to school instead of earning a livelihood. 

3) Legal-technical approach to legitimization: People engaged with the ‘Campaign for People’s Right to Health’ have based their argument on the human rights issues, fundamental rights, and government’s commitment to ‘Health for All’. It gives credibility to the movement.

2-Principle of Dramatization: 

Dramatization is the principle of mass mobilization by which the leaders of a movement galvanize the population into action by emotional appeals to heroism, sensational news management, novel procedures, pungent slogans, and such other techniques. Almost every leader mobilization the masses, uses this principle of dramatization. Tilak, Marx, Guevara, Pereyra and the Assam agitation leaders, resorted to this principle. Some of the mechanisms of dramatization could be:

1) Use of songs: Catchy songs, which put forth the cause of a movement, create a dramatic effect. During freedom struggle, at Bartoli, local talent was tapped to compose songs to stimulate the enthusiasm of the people. Several choirs were trained, and they travelled from village to village in a bullock cart to sing satyagraha hymns at numerous meetings.

2) Powerful speeches: This is also a crucial way of motivating the masses and creating drama-effect. Gandhiji’s appeal to sacrifice and martyrdom was thrilling and it had a special appeal for the youth to work for this cause.

3) Role of women: Making prominent women lead marchers was a technique which gave a dramatic effect to the movement. At Rajkot, Kasturba Gandhi herself inaugurated the civil disobedience movement by courting arrest first.

 4) Boycott: Boycott is also an effective way of influencing public opinion both when the effort is successful and when it is crushed. Picketing and ‘hartals’– voluntary closure of shops and other organization, were used by Gandhiji to dramatize the issue.

5) Slogans: Bharat chodo, Jal hi Jeevan, say no to Drugs, HIV/AIDS– knowledge is prevention, etc. are some of the slogans used to give dramatic effect to various social movements.

3-Principle of Multiple Strategies: 

There are two basic approaches to development: Taking the main thrust of a programme, one can classify it as political, economic, or social. The basket principle indicates the adoption of a multiple strategy, using combined approaches and a combination of different types of programmes. Zeltman and Duncan have identified four development strategies from their experience of community development. These have been framed for use in social action. They are:

1) Educational strategy: In this strategy, the prospective participants are educated at the individual, group, and mass level. This is one of the basic requirements of social action. People or target groups are given necessary information about the issue. By creating awareness people are motivated and persuaded to participate in the movement. During campaign against child labor, a network of NGOs working with children was developed and these NGOs in tune created awareness in their respective areas through educational strategy. Education by demonstration is an important aspect of this principle. Demonstration has deep impact on the knowledge retention of the target population.

 2) Persuasive strategy: Persuasive strategy is the adoption of a set of actions/procedures to bring about changes by reasoning, urging, and inducing others to accept a particular viewpoint. Gandhiji used this strategy by constantly seeking opportunities for dialogue with his opponents. At every rally, stress was laid on winning new converts by oratory and gentle presentation of arguments.

 3) Facilitative strategy: This refers to a set of procedures and activities to facilitate the participation of all sections of society in the mass movement. The programme Gandharans devised was often so simple and devoid of any risk that even illiterate children could imitate them and participate in the National Liberation Movement. In salt satyagraha, Gandhiji did not go into the technicalities of salt making. He simply asked the followers to make consumable salt by boiling the seawater. Its simplicity did facilitate greater participation. 4) Power strategy: It involves the use of coercion to obtain the desired objectives. The forms of coercion may vary. Gandhiji used social ostracism as one of the techniques of power strategy.

4-Principle of Dual Approach: 

Any activist must build counter-systems or revive some unused system, which is thought to be beneficial to the mobilized public on a self-help basis without involving the opponent. This is a natural requirement consequent upon the attempt to destroy the system established/maintained by the opponents. Gandhian constructive work program performed such a function, in a small measure, together with conflictual programs of satyagrahis. This cooperative effort indicates that Gandharans adopted or attempted to a dual approach in their mobilization. Principle of Manifold Programmes: It means developing a variety of programs with the ultimate objective of mass mobilization. These can be broadly categorized into three parts: Social, Economic and Political program. Dr. Rajendra Singh has taken up the issue of water conservation as a composite of manifold programs. His water conservation helped the villagers, particularly women, who had to go miles to fetch water. It helped in better development of crops, better animal husbandry, implying more economic benefits. During the movement, there were direct and indirect conflict resolutions with the local leaders, panchayat bodies, and state governments.



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