Wednesday, December 28, 2005

more sociological practice thoughts (so i wont forget)

in response to a colleague...

I do think that there are social change principles that can be identified and then interventions developed in concert with those principles that will result in social change. I think this is a very realistic and reasonable goal for applied soc/soc practice.

in response to another colleague...

I am familiar with Rokeach's work -- even used it in a class; I am also familar with how values change. My point (in these apparent last 90 days) that a trip to the library WON'T assist, because it doesn't exist, is empirical applied sociological literature on the efficacy of these methods to facilitate change.

I know that there are numerous disparate interventions that exist; to my knowledge, they do not exist in a "social change" handbook, nor have they been empirically evaluted for their efficacy. I am simply advocating for the development of both of those things.

If you recall (I guess it was 90 days ago), i posted a little test...i'll update it using your example -- ask an applied sociologist to provide you with five empirically validated ways that they can change values in 30 seconds or less and see what happens. Other professional change folk (physicians, counselors, etc.) would probably pass a similar test in their respective disciplines. I wonder how many of us could?

Yes, I know that the discipline is young, however, like much of our parent discipline, we seem to lack some agreement on how to proceed in regards to developing it as a science. Maybe some don't want it to be a "scientific" enterprise; that's fine, too. I do because otherwise we have only anecdotal and experiential data to fall upon in determing our course of intervention. Not bad things, but I feel much more comfortable when working with someone, attempting to facilitate change with/for them, when i know that the methods i am using have some empirical backing.

i know this FROM experience working with substance abusers -- it was a heck of a lot more reassuring using evidence-driven change methods than just shooting from the hip using theory and or a smattering of "this seems to have worked in the past;" also nice for liability purposes.

"What are the principles of social change?" seems to be a good place to start. Finding out what they are, through empirical means is IMO, the way to go. I am planning on proceeding in this direction; if others are, too, maybe we can build something together.

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