Sosial handling og diskurs

Sosial handling og diskurs

Her kan du lese om sosial handling og deltagelse i samfunnets diskurser om ikke så lenge...

Sosial handling

Sosial handling

Sosial handling

Bahá’í efforts of social action seek to promote the social and material well-being of people of all walks of life, whatever their beliefs or background. Such efforts are motivated by the desire to serve humanity and contribute to constructive social change. Together they represent a growing process of learning concerned with the application of the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh, along with knowledge accumulated in different fields of human endeavour, to social reality.

Issues of social and economic development can be complex, and the efforts of Bahá’ís to engage in social action are, by comparison, modest. They are usually carried out by small groups of individuals in a locality where the courses of the training institute are being widely offered. Efforts emerge out of growing collective consciousness. Most are projects of a fixed duration. They come to a close when their objectives have been met. They may be related to any one of a variety of fields, for example, health, sanitation, education, agriculture or environmental protection. Whatever their nature, they aim at improving some aspect of the life of the local population. In a few cases, those engaged in grassroots social action are able to extend the range of their activities in an organic fashion, and their efforts evolve into projects of a more sustained nature, with administrative structure.

In such cases, a non-profit, non-governmental organization may be established by a group of Bahá’ís, often with like-minded colleagues, to address one or another issue of social and economic development. Operating on the principles of the Bahá’í Faith, it is generally called a “Bahá’í-inspired organization”. It provides institutional capacity in a country or region to deal with the generation, application and diffusion of knowledge about development. Typically, such an organization will begin with one primary line of action and will allow its efforts to increase in complexity over time.

For communities in most regions, one of the first concerns is to ensure that their children and youth have access to a sound academic education. Currently, there are a few Bahá’í-inspired organizations that have devised well-defined programmes, particularly in the field of education, and members of local communities all over the world can, with ongoing training in the use of materials, adopt their methods and approaches. Many capable young men and women, who might otherwise be forced to leave their villages and neighbourhoods in search of employment, benefit in particular. To the capacity they have developed through the study of institute courses are added new knowledge and skills. And they become the catalysts for further progress: capacity rises within the community, if only moderately, to take collective action in fields such as education, health and food production and to resist the influence of destructive forces tearing at the social fabric.

In this environment, the local governing council or Local Spiritual Assembly serves as the voice of moral authority. It interacts with social and political structures in the locality, consulting with them about the work Bahá’ís are doing for the progress of the village or neighbourhood. It also makes certain that, as small groups strive to improve local conditions, the integrity of their endeavours is not compromised. Overly ambitious projects that would consume energies and ultimately arrest progress are avoided. Efforts grow in keeping with the capacity of the local population to carry them forward. Sustainability is a natural consequence of the process itself.

For Bahá’ís, social action is pursued with the conviction that every population should be able to trace the path of its own progress. Social change is not a project that one group of people carries out for the benefit of another.

Deltagelse i samfunnets diskurser

Deltagelse i samfunnets diskurser

Deltagelse i samfunnets diskurser

Over the years, the Bahá’í community has come to refer to one aspect of its efforts to contribute to the advancement of civilization as participation in the discourses of society.

At any given moment, and in social spaces at all levels of society, there are a range of ongoing discourses concerned with various aspects of humanity’s wellbeing and progress: discourses on such subjects as the equality of women and men, peace, governance, public health, and development, to name but a few. Individual members of the Bahá’í community—whether through their involvement in the life of the local community, their efforts of social action, or in the course of their studies, occupations, or professional activities—strive to participate fruitfully in such discourses, learning with and from others and offering their personal insights, informed by the Bahá’í teachings, to the unfolding discussions. Bahá’í-inspired agencies also contribute to discourses associated with aspects of social and economic development relevant to their work.

Meanwhile, agencies of National Spiritual Assemblies try to contribute through various avenues to the promotion of ideas conducive to public welfare. At the international level, the Bahá’í International Community (BIC) is similarly engaged. The BIC is an international non-governmental organization, accredited with consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which represents all the National Spiritual Assemblies in the world. It is an active participant in many of the United Nation’s major conferences and commissions, frequently presenting papers and statements on such diverse subjects as minority rights, the status of women, crime prevention, and the welfare of children and the family. With offices in New York and Geneva, the BIC participates on a daily basis in the constant stream of forums, seminars and small group discussions taking place in those locations. The BIC is also coming to play a more active part in discussions at the regional level and, to this end, it is in the process of establishing new offices in cities throughout the world. One such office was opened in Brussels in 2012 to coordinate the efforts of Bahá’ís to work with and support European organizations including the European Union and Council of Europe.

At whatever level it occurs, the purpose of Bahá’í participation in discourses is not to persuade others to accept a Bahá’í position on this or that subject. Nor is effort in this area of endeavor pursued as a public relations activity or an academic exercise. Rather, Bahá’ís strive to adopt a posture of learning and engage in genuine conversation. As such, they do not set out to offer any specific solutions to the problems that face humanity such as climate change, women’s health, food production and poverty alleviation. Yet Bahá’ís in a range of settings around the world are eager to share what they are learning in their efforts to apply Bahá’u’lláh’steachings towards the advancement of civilization and to learn with and from other like-minded individuals and groups.

One of the ways in which the Bahá’í community is building capacity for this purpose is through seminars for undergraduate and graduate university students. Conducted by the Institute for Studies in Global Prosperity (ISGP) at the national and international levels, these seminars explore subjects especially relevant to students and young professionals. Periodic conferences hosted by the Associations for Bahá’í Studies represent another avenue for building capacity in this regard. Such conferences serve as a forum for interested people of all ages and from every field to correlate the Bahá’í teachings with contemporary thought.