Organizing for Social Change

As I read Organizing for Social Change I thought the four categories of dialectic tension for the process of social change were really interesting.  The four categories listed were control and emancipation, oppression and empowerment, dissemination and dialogue, and fragmentation and unity.  The category that really stuck out to me as I read was the concept of oppression and empowerment.  I found the statement in the reading that “a person may act in a way that is empowering in one context but simultaneously oppressing in another” really impactful.  I think we all as people struggle with this dialectic on a daily basis and it is something that is really interesting to think about. 

As a college student I thought this idea of oppression and empowerment was really interesting in the way many of us pursue our social lives.  As I read the example of purdah both oppressing and empowering simultaneously women in India I shomehow kept correlating it to alcohol in the college atmosphere.  When ever I get the chance to go out on the weekends I think many people are fighting the concept of oppression and empowerment through the use of alcohol.  I think that alcohol is oppressing in the way that when someone is drunk they can’t think well and tend to be oppressed from representing themselves to others in a way that normally they would want to be seen.  However, while the alcohol may be oppressing clear thought I would argue that it is empowering in the college social scene.  The prominent use of alcohol on collge campuses makes it empowering in the sense of fitting in with other people.  Being drunk also seems to be empowering by making people less afraid to introduce themselves and do things that they may not do normally.  I think a good example of oppression and empowerment in popular culture is the show Jersey Shore.  I think their actions are very oppressing by the way the make the general public feel about the characters as people but their actions are also empowering by gaining them wealth and notariety in our culture.  Hre’s a link to the Jersey Shore website:


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