Saul Alinsky & Jane Addams - Similar Under the Surface

1011 Words Aug 23rd, 2012 5 Pages
Brief Paper #1

Harvey Burchett
Northeastern State University

SOWK 4733 Practice III
Dr. Satara Armstrong, MSW
February 8, 2012

Brief Paper #1
Both Jane Addams and Saul Alinsky, worked to enact social change within the poor neighborhoods of Chicago. Both would also go on to inspire many other social changes due to their methodologies and accomplishments. However, Addams’ and Alinsky’s approaches to bring about social change are often described as being polar opposites. One could argue though, that despite these superficial differences, Addams and Alinsky shared a commonality that is not often talked about. Jane Addams started the Hull House. She brought services to
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This falls back to Alinsky’s “do anything to win” mentality and win he did. The BYNC housed the infant station and the Chicago Settlement never regained its footing within the community. Alinsky had again proved the effectiveness of his methods (Hamington, 2010). Addams and Alinsky appear to have very different organizing philosophies. Alinsky himself often commented how his methods were so different than those of the settlement houses. These comments however, should have been more directed at what the settlement houses had become and not at the originating principles of Jane Addams’ Hull House. Jane Addams herself would likely disapprove of the direction that the settlement houses had moved towards. Addams and Alinsky both recognized the importance of listening and learning the needs of the community in order to gain perspective. “Addams recognized that when existing social institutions do not provide a reasonable means for citizen participation, those citizens will organize to resist… Similarly, Alinsky viewed his organizations as fully democratic [stating]: This kind of organization can be built only if people are working together for real, attainable objectives” (Hamington, 2010). The connections between the philosophies of Addams and Alinsky are inextricably linked. “The resonance between the social philosophies of Addams and Alinsky is not surprising if the Chicago School connection is taken into account. Addams and Hull House helped

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