Organizing, Advocacy and ChangeMarshall Ganz
Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School
Alexis de Tocqueville wrote that in a democracy, knowledge of how to combine is the mother of all forms of knowledge. He was talking about organizing: developing leadership, building community, and mobilizing power to balance inequality of resources with equality of voice. Organizing is about neither providing services to clients nor selling products to customers, but about bringing citizens together to act on common concerns. The practice of organizing can be useful in diverse settings: community organizations, faith communities, public health, unions, electoral politics, education, advocacy and government.
I discovered my call to organizing through my experience in the civil rights movement, bringing people together to build the political, economic and moral power to claim their rights. I learned the craft of organizing working with Cesar Chavez to build a migrant farm workers union in California. But I only came to fully appreciate the “science” of it when I returned to school to learn and to teach. Because organizing is about how people can change institutions, I found historical study, social analysis, and political understanding key to learning why our key institutions work as they do, where they came from, and how they can change. But I also found that courses in how we actually work together – in organization studies, negotiations, social psychology, and leadership necessary for learning how we can make the changes we want. And I found that courses in sources of our values critical for learning how to access the sources of moral energy that it takes to make change at all. Finally, the combination of experience and academics to which I have had access taught me that unless we learn to theorize practice, we learn little from it; but too, unless we ground our theory in our practice, it is of little practical value.
In selecting courses, students may consider the interests of their classmates as well as the experience of the instructor and the content of the syllabus. Related courses offered at the Divinity School, Graduate School of Education, Law School, Faculty of Arts and Sciences and MIT Urban Studies program can also be explored.
Masters of Public Administration (MPA) degree candidates at the HKS,
as well as cross-registrants from other schools or faculties:
*Please note that some courses listed here may not be offered in the 2010-2011 academic year.
MLD-377 Organizing: People, Power and Change
MLD-201 Exercising Leadership: The Politics of Change
DPI-703 Understanding Democracy Through History
MLD-221 Introduction to Negotiation Analysis
MLD-502 Managing People: Self, Relationships, and Teams
MLD-355M Public Narrative: Identity, Agency, and Action
MLD-327 Moral Leadership: Self, Other, and Action
Other Recommended Courses
DPI-614M Public Opinion, Polling and Public Policy
DPI-701 Reasoning from History
MLD-342 Persuasion: the Science and Art of Effective Influence
MLD-356M Public Narrative: Conflict, Collaboration, and Coherence
NPS-150Y Seminar: The Non-Profit Sector
DPI-150Y Seminar: Politics and Advocacy
MLD-480 Leadership for a Networked World
DPI-216 Democratic Theory
Social Change Venues
DPI-312 Sparking Social Change
DPI-134M Innovation and Reform in Twenty-First Century Democracies
HLE-201 Poverty and Social Policy
IGA-103 Global Governance
PED-130 Why Are So Many Countries, Poor, Volatile, and Unequal?