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Social Action Model


Change in power and structures

Both the process and the task are critical to social action. Often a specific issue and organization is the target for change. The information reviewed in the assessment focuses on policies and practices that continue to disempower and oppress certain members of the community (a marginalized group).


Social injustice

Collection and presentation of data is subjective and focused on the presenting issue and its affects on a marginalized group. This would include evidence that this group typically has limited access or opportunity to equal participation in their communities.

Change Strategy

Mobilize people around an issue

Involving the oppressed or disenfranchised population in the assessment of the impact of an issue in order to raise awareness and involvement in the strategies to address the issue. Focus groups and other processes (popular education) assist in this.

Change Tactics


The data collected is presented in ways that directly challenge the system.

Community Worker (CW) Role


The CW role is to create opportunities for members to participate, be heard and make decisions in community activities and other systems that effect their quality of life.

Medium of Change

Organizing political processes

Organizing people to collectively deal politically with the system is the medium of change. This may also occur by building coalitions.

Orientation Toward Power Structure(s)

Power structure as external target of action

Power is seen as being wielded by an oppressive force against the marginalized group. Those holding the power must be coerced or overturned to have the group's needs met.

Boundary Definition of the Community

A segment of the community

The group is a component of the larger community and the success of the larger community is often at the expense of this group.

Assumptions Regarding Interests of Community Sub-groups

Conflicting interests which are not easily reconcilable; scarce resources

It is assumed that interest of the larger community and the group are irreconcilable without drastic action, because it is in the self-interest of some parties to maintain the power.

Conception of the Client Population or Constituency


Members of the group are seen as "victims of the system"

Conception of Client Role

Employers, constituents, members

The organizer is seen as an employee and servant of the people.
Adapted from Rothman, J., & Tropman, E., (1987). Models of community organization and macro practice perspectives: Their mixing and phasing. Strategies of community organizations.