[URBANTH-L]advocacy planning/citizen participation andantipovertyefforts

Stephen C. Maack smaack at earthlink.net
Wed Nov 9 11:42:49 EST 2005

What has the student done already besides the easy turn to the professor and
the SUNTA list?  Enlist the help of a good reference librarian.  (IMHO, this
should always be the first line of recommendation before sending out an
appeal to a professional list....).

There are a number of books and articles out on homelessness that the
student should search for and consult.  The Rand Corporation has done a
great deal of policy relevant research and evaluation on homelessness
projects, particularly in regards to the large homeless population of Santa
Monica, CA.  Anthropologists have been involved with some of that work.  See
http://www.rand.org and follow the links to Rand's online and for-purchase
papers and books.

Is the student looking for current or any and all cases to examine?  In the
1970s and 1980s "advocacy anthropology" was in its heyday and it was
specifically geared toward empowering low income people and community
organizations and providing help in citizen participation and action.  To
probably oversimplify, the stance of advocacy anthropology is that the
"professional" anthropologist is simply someone with certain kinds of
expertise and the leaders and poor people had other kinds of expertise.  The
anthropologist let the leaders decide on strategy and such and was not so
worried about unbiased research and reporting the way an academic would be.
The point was to help move forward a cause or case -- i.e., move into some
form of action (and try to make the action "successful" according to the
terms and approaches of the poor and community people wanting the actions

There is a great deal written on poverty in the United States and around the
world.  The edited book "Poor People's Movements" might be of interest.
Look at the extensive literature concerning the Lyndon Johnson era "war on
poverty" and its aftermath, the "underclass" debate, and so forth.  The
literature on peasants will include examples of antipoverty efforts
(including the Vicos Project, if you will...).  The World Bank, USAID,
non-profits and other aid providers have for years worked on various
projects, some of which espouse "advocacy planning" and "citizen
participation" (Brinda Dalal's recommendations are the tip of a big
iceberg...).  Is there any particular theoretical and pragmatic stance that
the student is taking or looking for literature that takes that kind of a

If I were you, I would advise the student that, as relayed to us, this topic
is way too broad for a term paper, and likely even be too broad for a
Masters or Doctoral thesis.  Whole swaths of applied anthropology literature
deal with this topic.  Also, big chunks of urban and rural community
organizing literature touch on it.  And much development anthropology
literature.  Did you try to work with the student to narrow down the topic
to something more reasonable?  If so, could you and/or the student be more
specific in the request?  Again, a good reference librarian would ask key
questions to try to get a student to be more specific and get the student
started on the paper research.

Best Regards,

Dr. Stephen C. Maack
DBA REAP Change Consultants
2872 Nicada Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90077-2024
E-Mail: consultant at reapchange.com or smaack at earthlink.net
Telephone: 310-384-9717
FAX: 310-474-4161

-----Original Message-----
From: urbanth-l-bounces at lists.ysu.edu
[mailto:urbanth-l-bounces at lists.ysu.edu]On Behalf Of
Brinda.Dalal at parc.com
Sent: Tuesday, November 08, 2005 5:18 PM
To: bridgman at cc.umanitoba.ca
Cc: URBANTH-L at lists.ysu.edu
Subject: RE: [URBANTH-L]advocacy planning/citizen participation


The following might provide some insight in regard to women,
micro-credit, and housing and shelter issues in Bombay, India.

Arjun Appadurai's paper on Deep Democracy might be a useful start. A
draft version may be found here: http://www.sdinet.org/reports/r10.htm

Appadurai discusses the work of the Non-Governmental Organization called
SPARC and affiliated organizations. SPARC's publications, which go back
to 1984, can be found here:
http://www.sparcindia.org/Frame/fpublications.html (Note that these do
not provide a critique as such)

In a similar vein, grassroots efforts on issues around shelter in South

Brinda Dalal

-----Original Message-----
From: urbanth-l-bounces at lists.ysu.edu
[mailto:urbanth-l-bounces at lists.ysu.edu] On Behalf Of RAE BRIDGMAN
Sent: Tuesday, November 08, 2005 8:12 AM
To: URBANTH-L at lists.ysu.edu
Subject: [URBANTH-L]advocacy planning/citizen participation and

I've just received the following query from a student in my department.
Can anyone suggest some useful leads?  Much appreciated---Rae Bridgman


"I am writing a paper which explores antipoverty efforts and whether
advocacy planning and citizen participation in the past have been
successful in incorporating concerns of the poor (including the
homeless) into some form of action. I will probably look at examples that
been unsuccessful and successful.  I was wondering if you would know of any
good sources (articles or books) that would be useful."

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