Louise Press submitted her PIP in the 2016 HSC year. The Society and Culture Association have been fortunate enough to have Louise share her understanding of the course and knowledge gained throughout the PIP research and writing process. If you attended the HSC PIP DAY held in November 2017 you would have been privy to Louise’s experiences and expertise in the PIP writing process. Her PIP titled “Stand, Speak, Type, Act” has been used to highlight the components expected of the A Range. The ability to unpack data, analyse and interpret it for meaning and draw synthesised conclusions are key reasons why Louise was a 2016 Society and Culture Award nominee.
Below are excerpts from her PIP:
STAND, SPEAK, TYPE, ACT
An investigation into the social and cultural value of social activism over time as an institutional marker of social change.
Persons and groups in society have long pursued activist means in an attempt to trigger transformative change to the status quo. The goal of my PIP is to examine the evolution of social activism, particularly under the contemporary lens of modernisation and globalisation, whilst also considering its overarching continuities over time. This area of research was kindled by my strong passion for social justice and my micro-world involvement with World Vision Australia’s work since 2011. This personal experience created an awareness of a “social reality that is socially constructed” particularly concerning the power class and status have in determining life outcomes. Challenged by this injustice, I have long felt empowered to make a difference and to encourage others to fight for an egalitarian world through participation in social activism.
… Through the creation of a questionnaire, I gathered qualitative data that focuses on individuals’ definitions of social activism, as well as the success of cyber-activism in the micro, meso and macro worlds. Content analysis has allowed me to quantitatively evaluate media coverage offered to certain social justice issues, whilst examining how individuals participate in activism due to resources available to them in their context. An interview was then conducted with the Professor of Sustainability at UWS, Dr. Karen Malone, to gain a qualitative appreciation of the fundamental continuities regarding the purpose of social activism.
I have capitalised on various sources to formulate my secondary research, broadening my understanding of social activism. As a researcher, I ensured that my sources were reliable through discernment and critical analysis, thus providing a fascinating framework for the development of my hypothesis. I have also become privy to the various definitions and methods of activism, and have gained greater knowledge on the contemporary debate of the success of cyber-activism, sociologically referred to by the contentious lexicon ‘Clicktivism’. In the extract ‘Activism, Social and Political’ from the book ‘The Encyclopaedia of Activism and Social Justice’ (2007), author Brian Martin claimed activism itself will remain a continuity in society, ultimately shaping and supporting my development of a hypothesis, as he states that ‘the methods of activism will continue to evolve along with political opportunity and developments in culture and technology.’
excerpt taken from ch 2
At the hands of modernisation and globalisation, ‘advancing technologies are making the world smaller,’ shaping individuals, groups, and communities on the micro, meso, and macro levels of society, becoming a key agent of the socialisation process. Born out of Web 2.0, social media creates a user-generated environment, promoting interactivity and connectivity like never before. This technological advancement functions as a platform to unite the human race, even if only superficially, and has created an ‘inclusive community where ideas and altruism can be the currency, rather than money.
This becomes crucial to consider when examining the direction this change can have for society and culture, and specifically, the function and purpose of social activism. Although ‘traditional’ methods of social activism, such as rallies and sit-ins, have proved successful in the past, I am aware that globalisation and modernisation have diversified the ways in which individuals can participate in activism in the contemporary context. Technology, with internet and social media usage, has bridged the gap between generations and increased cross-generation interaction, becoming a tool for social activism, exemplifying how various generations and contexts differ in resources for social activism. As recognised by Dr. Malone during our interview, ‘technology is the biggest change’ regarding social activism, and should therefore be utilised with a ‘multi-pronged approach in order to reach different people in different ways and improve the reach of their activist project.
Extending upon this, I looked to quantitatively and qualitatively assess the effectiveness of advancing technologies for social activism through my questionnaire. The analysis of the results saw 57% of respondents believing that advancing technologies were aiding social activism, however 35% of respondents felt it was both benefiting and obstructing social activism. …..
Through the triangulation of my primary and secondary research, I validated my hypothesis that social activism is an institutional marker of social change, and thus, is a product of its context, experiencing change within itself. An examination of social activism’s evolution with society allowed me to discover that it is through the processes of globalisation and modernisation that innovative resources, such as advancing technologies, are created, further shaping and influencing activism.
My findings from my secondary research substantially contributed to my Personal Interest Project, forming an overall foundation that was then built upon as I delved into my primary research methods of a questionnaire, content analysis, and interview. Whilst I was overwhelmed by the multitude of secondary information regarding social activism, I was surprised by the lack of scholarly sources regarding the effectiveness of ‘traditional methods’ of activism when compared to that of its online variant. My primary research enhanced the development of my PIP through the collection of both qualitative and quantitative data, deepening my appreciation of social activism’s role in society.
ANNOTATED RESOURCE LIST
Jordan, Tim, Activism! Direct Action, Hacktivism and the Future of Society, Reaktion Books Ltd., London, 2002.
This source explored activism in the contemporary context, and the continuity of its presence over time across various generations and contexts. Through identifying democracy, this book delves into the potential of activism to ignite societal change, and also regards the future of social activism. This therefore aided the development of the third chapter of my PIP, providing me with not only relevant and interesting information that contributed to my arguments, but also with other sources to further extend my secondary research. A short history was also included on ‘popular’ or ‘radical’ activism, allowing me to gage an awareness of the evolutionary and transformative changes social activism has experienced at the hands of globalisation and modernisation. By differentiating between ‘action’ and ‘disorganisation,’ this source reveals the most efficient methods of activism and the substantial value of having a meso community of individuals who are dedicated and working towards the same goal and collective vision. I found this source extremely useful, with it aiding the development of my PIP substantially. Due to its publishment in 2002, there was not much information regarding the utilisation of social media and advancing technologies for social activism, yet the information it did offer was both relevant and informative.