‘Organic intellectuals’ as catalysts of change: working with young people in conflict and post conflict environments

Grattan, Alan (2008) ‘Organic intellectuals’ as catalysts of change: working with young people in conflict and post conflict environments. In, 2nd International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Granada, Spain, 10 - 13 Jul 2007. Melbourne, Australia, Common Ground Publishing10pp, 183-194.


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Using the concept of ‘organic intellectual’, this paper explores the role of the indigenous community activist who
engages with young people who become involved, directly or indirectly in communal and political conflict. The research
also seeks to compare the skills, strategies and struggles utilised in this process between conflict and post conflict situations.
Given the ‘fluid’ nature of the notion of the ‘organic intellectual’ it will also explore the intra-communal ‘struggle’ between
‘organic intellectuals’ with differing and opposing ideological worldviews, for the ‘hearts and minds’ of young people who
find their communities in the forefront of conflict. The ‘organic intellectual’, being of and from the indigenous community
and with an understanding of that community’s ‘commonsense philosophy’, is in a unique postion to influence and ‘empower’
young people. Often in conflict situations, and due to the socio-political realities and experiences of their community, many
young people find themselves under communal pressure to enter into direct action and conflict or to resist such involvement.
Either way a decision of this nature carries with it far reaching sociological and psychological consequences for the young
individual and the community. The ideological position and subsequent role of the ‘organic intellectual’ is particularly
significant when communities are in the process of both ‘divergence’ i.e. moving towards conflict and ‘convergence’ i.e. in
the process of reconciliation and reconstruction. As ‘organic intellectuals’ they are in a position to motivate their respective
communities through their ability to understand and articulate the prevailing dominant ‘commonsense philosophy’ and
world view. As such they may also be ‘catalysts’ for change either as key mediators or antagonists in the ‘divergent’ or
‘convergent’ process. This paper, and on-going research, explores the struggles, strategies and skills of the ‘organic intellectual’
in working with young people to empower them to engage in democratic political processes.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Related URLs:
Keywords: Organic Intellectuals, Commonsense Philosophy, Working with Young People, Conflict and Post Conflict Environments, Process of Divergerence and Convergence
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Education > Social Justice and Inclusive Education
ePrint ID: 63875
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
August 2007Submitted
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2008
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:48
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/63875

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