Monday, April 9, 2012

Collective Agency and Approaches to Empowerment

1.) As noted in the readings, organizing for social change fundamentally occurs on a collective level, with frames, identities, issues, resources, etc deriving from individual experience to gain collective resonance. Given this, what is meant by the term “collective agency”? In other words, in what ways are individual and collective agency similar and different both in conceptualization and in practice?

2.) The CCA approach to empowerment foregrounds the perspectives, rationales, and agency of the marginalized, which serves to challenge or provide alternatives to dominant structures precisely through the privileging of those who have been excluded from discursive sites and processes of decision-making. This stands in contrast to the participatory development approach, which relies on experts imparting to the marginalized various skills and knowledge derived from the repertoire of the status quo to empower communities to act within the dominant socio-political-economic system. While these approaches epistemologically differ, in what ways do they converge in practice? To what extent or in what aspects does the CCA approach utilize mainstream institutions, logics, or symbols in projects of empowerment? How can the CCA approach accommodate subaltern desires that do not necessarily stand in fundamental opposition to the mainstream?

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