RBA Planning & Road-Mapping

Transcribed research question:
Can we develop a definition of love that is relevant and applicable to today’s political and social moment, and if so, what may that look like? Furthermore, what is the role of the other/self-oriented types of love in modern social justice movements – how do they compliment each other, what are their distinct functions, and why is each important?

Thesis moment:
Love has played a vital role in social justice activism throughout history but rarely receives attention today as a viable component of modern movements. While many might believe love does not have a major role in social justice, the lessons of history and modern day context indicate that it does. Based on the framework of injustice articulated in “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” by Paulo Freire, I propose a definition of love centered on recognizing the humanity of another person and acting in accordance with the dignity and respect that humanity inherently affords. This definition is then used to analyze the role that both self/other-oriented love has played throughout history, bringing me to a position in which I view the two forms of love as complementary pieces of an essential love ethic that should be incorporated into every social movement.

Road mapping:

Points on definition
– Analysis of “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” to establish social justice movements as struggles for humanization. This is needed because oppression produces dehumanization, which must be combatted if a community it to achieve liberation. Love, then, is proposed as the recognition of another person’s humanity and action in accordance with that recognition, in forms both small and large. In this way, love is the medium through which resistance to dehumanization takes place, the vehicle that drives liberation.

Points on other-oriented love
– Argument for other-oriented love as essential to formation of bonds of solidarity and in driving moral change. Use of   Gandhi’s Satyagraha principles and MLK’s nonviolence principles, as well as comparison between the two and what that comparison reveals about nuances of other-oriented love.

– Argument that other-oriented love still has important role. Coverage of movements building off Gandhian/King principles, discussion of sources talking about love as a transformative force for the educational system, criminal justice system, leading to an imagining of what a vision of our systems built off love would look like.

Points on self-oriented love
– Argument for self-love as powerful tool of “political warfare” and resistance to dehumanization. Coverage of how self-love has been incorporated in contexts such as the LGBTQ pride movement to demonstrate identity-affirming role self-love has to play.

– Argument for extension of self-love beyond identity-building to community healing and building. Demonstrating how strength in identity/community translates to building up community resources and programs, such as happened with the Black Power Movement, to empower the community through opportunities such as quality education.

4 thoughts on “RBA Planning & Road-Mapping”

  1. This is really interesting and seems like an important way to interpret historical activist movements through a lens that’s more commonly seen in modern movements. I think your organization makes a lot of sense and provides a really solid structure for understanding your more nuanced points. I’m wondering are self-love movements eventually intended to produce more general other-love? The idea there would be that movements like LGBTQ pride and body positivity use self-love as a tool with the eventual goal of establishing a society where self-love on those issues isn’t radical or different from general self-esteem. In the current situation, it’s necessary to actively pursue self-love in those categories because there’s a baseline lack of that in general. Is encouraging responsible allyship the responsibility of a self-directed love movement or does that fall outside the bounds of a movement because it isn’t self-love? It might be interesting to look at the types of affinity spaces that the presenter at the oakland workshop was talking about!


  2. Near the beginning of this quarter I was very interested in seeing how you would effectively define “love”. The definition you were able to compose with the help of Freire’s work is clear and in a simplistic form. Your organization is logical and the transitions between each of the sections will occur organically.
    I was wondering if in the “points on definition” section of your paper, will you be spending anytime discussing the process that it took to solidify your definition of love? Will you or would you consider going into some detail about various definitions of love you ran into during your research and the reasons why you decided not to use these definitions? I was also wondering if the discussion of self-orientated love will mostly feed into empowering other-orientated love. If this is the case I would suggest moving your self-orientated love section above other-orientated because the transition would be seamless.


  3. Your research questions is really unique and extremely interesting. This is a really fresh topic for me and it is great to learn more about it! I am more interested in other-oriented love and I really like your idea of including Gandhi’s satygraha movement and MLKs non violent forms of activism. I think it would be a really interesting take on this paper to talk more about what form of love (other-oriented or self-oriented) is more commonly implemented nowadays in different movements. Has there been any transition between these forms of tools now being used for socially motivated movements? If so why do we see one form of love being more dominant to another type of love?


  4. Hi Chris.

    First off, just want to start by saying I think your research topic and the themes, theories, discussions and examples you plan on exploring sound fascinating. Often in today’s political dialogue or media coverage, social or activist movements can be referred to in a negative light, as if meaning of the movements and the justice and values they are attempting to obtain are not perceived. Moreover, currently in political dialogue, commentators and even the president himself have repeatedly denigrated some social movements and activism in general, thus obfuscating movement’s’ intents and failing to realize the messages of love and equality, which they espouse. I think it would be very interesting in helpful if you refer to specific modern instances in which Activist movements have been painted in negative lights by certain prominent political figures or media companies. Then, you can address how your argument and analysis challenges these assertions regarding activism and demonstrate how love is still very much ingrained in prominent activist movements of modern day. Also, be sure to clearly define the difference between self-oriented and other-oriented love. It is important to clarify the meanings and definitions of these terms as the average reader probably doesn’t possess much knowledge on the subjects you explore and on the meanings of these important concepts.


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