Glossary of terms

action learning | activist research | capacity building | community organising | effective advocacy | grass roots activism | popular education | social action | social change |

Action learning

An approach to research or organisational learning based on cycles of inquiry that comprise reflection, planning and action (doing).

Activist research

Research conducted by and with activists, with an explicit interest in the processes of activism, utilising research methods that affect positive social change.

Capacity building

Building community resourcefulness and resilience through strategies such as education and training. Community capacity incorporates indicators such as trust, cooperation, social cohesion and the ability to solve problems.

Community organising

A strategic approach to social action that addresses immediate community priorities, builds power by mobilising citizens, is framed by core ‘citizen values’ and challenges structural inequalities.

Effective advocacy

Social action that brings about intended social changes through strategies that simultaneously build movements and minimise burnout.

Grassroots activism

Social action that is often voluntary and is deeply connected to locally-felt and expressed needs and concerns.

Popular education

Participatory and (often) nonformal forms of education and learning that address community concerns, draw on learners’ experiences and emphasise opportunities for social action.

Social action

Advocacy tactics to bring about intended positive social changes. These tactics encompass rebel, citizen, reformer and change agent orientations (as described by Bill Moyer. Search this site for more about Bill’s Movement Action Plan.)

Social change

Al kinds of things, but in this context social change refers to social processes that foster sustainability, peace and nonviolence, grassroots democracy and equity.


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