What Ignites and Sustains Activism: Exploring Participatory Competence

Brad Forenza, Andrew J. Germak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Qualitative methods were employed to investigate processes and competencies experienced by self-described activists, who represent social welfare and civil rights causes in a single northeastern state. In the tradition of phenomenological research, a small number (eight participants) was secured, and in-depth interviews were conducted. Analysis of interview data explored pathways into—and maintenance of—activist orientation. Within this sample, it was determined that activism contextualizes a long-term empowering process and contributes to participatory competence among study participants. The authors argue that this framework is useful for social work educators to facilitate empowerment through activism for students.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-245
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Progressive Human Services
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2 Sep 2015


  • activism
  • implicit curriculum
  • participatory competence
  • psychological empowerment


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