Transformative Social Change

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From the Wikipedia [1]


Transformative social change is a philosophical, practical and strategic process to effect revolutionary change within society, i.e.,social transformation. It is effectively a systems approach applied to broad-based social change and social justice efforts to catalyze sociocultural, socioeconomic and political revolution. In seeking to integrate and then politicize personal development and social development as an overarching approach to social change at multiple levels, addressing a wide range of issues, using holistic, nonviolent methods,[1] it may be best classified as a new social movement.

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Seeking to better define and cohere the emerging and evolving work of transformative social change, a People's Movement Assembly process was held at the 2010 US Social Forum in Detroit, MI in which the following framework for defining transformation was agreed to by way of resolution:

Transformation, as applied to social change, is a process through which who we are – individually or collectively – is changed so deeply that the following are altered:

  • identity (way of seeing/thinking/reflecting upon ourselves and environment),
  • emotions (range of feelings and reactivity,)
  • embodiment (relationship and connectedness to and within our bodies and how we show up,)
  • actions (behaviors, patterned responses,)
  • creativity (capacity for responsiveness and ability to access resources,) and
  • paradigms (overall perspective and mode of operating.)


Further, the work of transformation requires the following components:

  • Awareness of the default conditioning, habits and reactions in our individual, organizational and movement experience.
  • Appreciation of old identities and states as they pass away and an understanding of the experience of crisis, breakdown, “undone-ness,” or “not-knowing” as a necessary catalyst that moves us toward new identities and states. People and entities can and must be supported in these periods.
  • A container at the individual, organizational and movement levels; practices that support the process, and a commitment to mentoring people into the necessary skills and processes.
  • A sustainable relationship with the whole web of life.


Transformation can and does consist of multi-disciplinary practices, modalities and paths, but overall it points toward the centrality of consistent, rigorous practice capable of undoing conditioning. Such a practice must effect systemic changes, internal and external. We refer to the broad spectrum of varied modalities as transformative practices.


Transformation happens in its own time and it can’t be undone. We expect processes of transformation, as distinct from change, to be inclined towards being irreversible.


In the transformation process, one identity or self passes away and a new, radically altered one emerges. The new way of being is more integrated, resourceful and aligned. This is apparent to others in your presence, your actions and your increased capacity to respond based on vision, rather than reaction. This process repeats itself and deepens through continued engagement in transformative practices and processes. The old, previous “form” sheds again and new emerges again.


The methods and philosophy of transformation must be rooted in an explicit analysis of oppression.

We recognize that this work is grounded in ancient wisdom, lineages and history, and that it is entering a new phase of coherence that allows us to move forward." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transformative_social_change)