Course Title: Advanced Advocacy and Social Action

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Advanced Advocacy and Social Action

Credit Points: 12


Course Code

Campus

Career

School

Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)

HUSO2069

City Campus

Postgraduate

330H Social Science & Planning

Face-to-Face

Sem 1 2006

HUSO2069

City Campus

Postgraduate

365H Global, Urban and Social Studies

Face-to-Face

Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 1 2015,
Sem 1 2016

Course Coordinator: Christine Craik

Course Coordinator Phone: +(61 3) 9925 2940

Course Coordinator Email: christine.craik@rmit.edu.au

Course Coordinator Location: 8.7.18

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment


Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

None


Course Description

This course teaches advanced advocacy and social action to promote social justice for disadvantaged groups. The context of advocacy work within the welfare state and a range of strategies are explored.

Over the past two decades global capitalism has rapidly expanded and the Australian welfare state—like other welfare states—has contracted. In contrast to the post-war period, public welfare has been reoriented to promote economic development and it is criticised for not protecting human rights or satisfying needs. Welfare recipients (and many others) are under more obligations to demonstrate their deservedness to receive assistance. For many, these changes have been dramatic as well as harmful. To redress these changes and to prevent further disadvantage, advocacy and social action are required.

Advocacy and Social Action is both a theoretical and a practical course: it teaches you to critique social movements and the different concepts of the welfare state they correspond to, and to advocate for social change. The course will explore both the potential and the limitations of advocacy and social action. Different conceptions of power and protest are part of this exploration and the ‘tools’, skills and strategies of advocacy will be examined. Understanding competing interests and building alliances is part of advocacy and will be included in the strategies taught. Ethical issues are also considered. The course will include ‘everyday’ acts of advocacy as well as large scale campaigns. While the main focus is on the Australian welfare state, international projects are also included.

The starting point for this course is a commitment to equity, social justice and human rights. This does not mean that students (or staff) will necessarily agree on issues, practices or principles associated with advocacy and social action; nor will anyone be expected to adhere to a particular school of thought or line of argument. Differences of opinion will arise in discussions and you are expected to treat others with respect when they have different views to your own. You are expected to adopt an adult learning style with active participation in discussions and taking responsibility for your own learning.

Critical reflection is an important part of the course. You will be asked to consider your values, beliefs and attitudes towards advocacy and social action, be this ‘everyday’ organisational advocacy or large scale social action that might include confrontation.


Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course is designed to help students to:

  • Extend their skills in critical analysis;
  • Understand the importance of reflexivity;
  • Further their oral presentation skills;


At the completion of the course it is expected that you will be able to: -

  • Demonstrate an advanced understanding of social movements that lead to different concepts of the welfare state;
  • Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the skills and strategies used in advocacy and social action;
  • Demonstrate an in-depth awareness of how personal values, beliefs, attitudes and preferred communication styles/practices impact on advocacy and social action work;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of complex advocacy decisions that include ethics, organisational constraints and legal issues
  • Demonstrate an understanding of theoretical underpinnings and historical contexts of social action and advocacy in a range of fields
  • Demonstrate how the practical skills and strategies of advocacy can be applied.


Overview of Learning Activities

The course will be delivered through weekly workshops. In the first four weeks theoretical concepts relating to advocacy and social action will be examined, particularly as they relate to wide scale change. ‘New’ and ‘old’ welfare support systems will be examined. In the following six weeks the course will focus on advocacy and social action across all modes of social work. Social work is involved with: 1) Direct Practice; 2) Service Management; 3) Organisational Development and System Change; 4) Policy; 5) Research; and 6) Education and Professional Development.. Worker’s rights, ‘everyday’ acts of advocacy and large scale projects will be examined throughout the course. In the final two weeks, students will present and speak to a conference type poster they have prepared that outlines an advocacy project


Overview of Learning Resources

You will be provided with a reader and suggestions for additional texts related to your interest area.  


Overview of Assessment

Assessment in this course aims to engage you intellectually, theoretically and personally. The assessment tasks will develop your understanding of social movements that have shaped the welfare state and welfare provision. You will be required to compare and contrast different social movements and to specify which movements you personally identify with and why. You will also develop your skills in planning and presenting an advocacy project of your choice. You can review and critique an existing advocacy project or plan a new project. You will present a visual display to the class that highlights underpinning values and beliefs, advocacy skills and strategies and any ethical, organisational or legal issues involved.