CRITICAL REFLECTIVE ESSAY – POSCI 1201 – FINAL 2013
As described in The Basics of Organizing(I will upload PDF of the basics of organizing) to solve any problem in our political or social system you need to create a plan of action. Each student will be required to create a plan of action based on one of the three case studies below. Each case study is designed to give you an opportunity to analyze a real political problem and think broadly about the use organizing in local community change. This assignment and reflection paper will give you some of the tools to address local and regional concerns through the political system.
Case Study #1
An ongoing campaign in a low-income, immigrant neighborhood has succeeded in uniting a coalition of residents, local businesses, youth groups and faith groups to stop developers from using the neighborhood as an illegal dumping ground. The environmental coalition, Quality for Life, is strong, but lately participation has waned and the group has spent the majority of its funds on the anti-dumping campaign. Though the dumping has stopped, the coalition would like to address a long-term concern with several industries nearby that they suspect are not complying with pollution caps and limits. The neighborhood in and around the industries has a higher than average childhood asthma rate.
Case Study #2
After a rise in robberies at gunpoint and other violent crime with weapons in a downtown area, the local Police Department has adopted a policy of “stop-and-frisk” on demand. A newspaper investigation recently found that male police officers have been stopping a high proportion of women and subjecting them to humiliating body frisks, even though the rate of guns found on men and women is very low. Civil rights leaders are now arguing that the bulk of stop-and-frisk encounters are legally unjustified.
Case Study #3
A developer has submitted plans to build a mall including a grocery store, drugstore and several retail shops. The grocery store is needed in the neighborhood, which currently has only small markets that don’t sell any fresh produce. However, developing the land in question would require building an access road that would divert traffic into a nearby residential neighborhood where many families live. It would require widening roads in the neighborhood by claiming some land in front of houses. No one has calculated how much traffic would increase, but the road near the mall is a major artery.
What’s in a plan of action:Primary Questions
· What is your goal?
· Who is your target?
· What are your demands?
· What is your theme?
· What will you do?
· How will you measure success?
>ASSIGNMENT:Critical Reflection Papers 75 points total
Essays should be 3 pages long, using standard font sizes (Times New Roman) and margins, and will require some research beyond assigned course material. Late essays will not be graded. See assignment sheet below.
NOTE: (Do not change your margins to extend your page count)
What is a Reflection Paper?
A Critical Reflection Paper in this class is a formal written presentation of your critical analysis on the connections between the readings assigned and your lived experience.
· How did this activity enhance your ability to understand the politics of power in your local community?
· What are the social and political power dynamics between the groups discussed in your case study? Who are the decision makers?
· Who is impacted by the issue and why does change need to happen?
· What local organizations (CA) currently work on the issues identified in your case study and how are they working towards solutions?
· What local examples (2) relate to the case study you chose?
· Are you impacted by the problems presented in the case study? Why or why not? What privileges or disadvantages do you have that make you impacted or not?
A Reflection Paper is not a diary or journal, although this may have been a way of processing your thoughts. It is a type of essay, and as such requires:
Worksheet as your cover page
a formal introduction
a well-structured body which presents your thoughts clearly and logically to the reader
a formal conclusion
3 pages double spaced
Self-reflection in this context involves a constant questioning of one’s own assumptions, and a capacity to analyze and synthesize information to create new perspectives and understanding. This is a constant process and leads to an on-going commitment to improve and refine one’s self.
More than anything else, a Reflection Paper invites self-reflection. The capacity for self-reflection is a vital personal and professional quality.
A Reflection Paper is designed to show your knowledge of a certain set of readings and, more importantly, your awareness on how you construct that knowledge. Thus it is an interaction between ideas received from outside (books, lectures, etc.) and your own internal understanding and interpretation of those ideas.
You must begin each point with a new paragraph. You may use the first person in a Reflection Paper as it is a record of your own thoughts and community realities. However, a Reflection Paper also requires in-text references to the ideas of others, and a Reference List must be included at the end. (APA or MLA citations are accepted)
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