The flipside of a monolithic collaborative stance in culture-centered processes of change

Figure: The activist Samarendra Das organizing the Foil Vedanta campaign in the backdrop of the Vedanta mining operations in Zambia.

Culture-centered processes of social change, grounded in the voices of the margins within local contexts, explore the ways in which communicative spaces can be co-created through collaborations with those at the margins.

In the co-creation of these communicative spaces as well as resulting from these communicative spaces, a plethora of communicative strategies emerge.

For those at the margins, these strategies become ways of securing access to resources that are mostly erased or absent.

While in many instances, collaborating with(in) institutional structures to shift normative expectations prove to be effective, in many other instances, an antagonistic strategy is necessitated to create the grounds of claims-making.

A monolithic focus on collaboration with institutional structures often ends up perpetuating the status quo, without creating the transformative openings for constitutive structures.

Without antagonism that is public, grounded in community voice, too many opportunities are left intact for those in power to co-opt the culture-centered processes.

At the end, what strategy is going to work and what is going to be deployed has to be carefully developed through community participation, engaged with activist and academic partners.