Education as Social Action: Knowledge, Identity and Power by Ashok Swain (eds.)

By Ashok Swain (eds.)

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Mobilization from less well off sections of society may benefit from the support of other groups, and not merely from the support of better-situated individuals (Eckstein 1989). For broader and more successful social action, there is a need for greater and well-sustained popular mobilization. The diffusion of the movement is necessary in order to keep up the pressure on authorities. Alongside the political process approach in which the state plays Introduction 13 the most influential role, a number of studies have highlighted the importance of social networks though which people are recruited to the social movements.

The RM approach looks into the way social movements achieve success or failure, as well as the means and strategies they use to reach their ends. Some popular movements for education are more successful in mobilizing and sustaining support than others. As a form of struggle, movements 12 Ashok Swain sometimes succeed and sometimes fail. At times they are able to get concessions from the state; other times they are ignored or suppressed. Sometimes their support is appreciated and recognized by the state; sometimes they are blocked and rejected by it.

For example, the emergence of the Republican Food for Starved Minds 29 Party in Georgia can be traced back to the efforts of black educators in the state (Drago 1982). Similar to the use of political power, black economic power was also used to induce whites to provide schools. For example, African-Americans often sought education clauses in their labour contracts. 2 In sum, blacks placed tremendous value on schools and education and used what little power they had to provide education to their communities.

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