“The neediest cases”

A recent article in the NY Times (21 February 2010) could be the good basis for many SRV-related exercises, such as examining the images and messages in the article communicated by language and pictures. These images refer to activities, social roles, funding, personal appearance, etc. A professor might do this exercise with a class or a supervisor at a staff meeting. Image-related exercises particularly are good to do with a group, as other people can pick up on things that one person by themselves might miss. If one were to do such an exercise, an effective way would be to do the exercise in multiple steps:

• identify as many images in the article as possible (circle or highlight in the article)

• determine the message(s) sent by each image

• keep in mind the heightened vulnerability and stereotypes associated with the particular socially devalued group or person being referred to

• keep in mind the often unconscious way in which images are received

• ask about each message: is the message confirming or countering prevailing stereotypes about that societally devalued group?

• how strongly and clearly is the message communicated? (not all images will come across equally; some will be stronger than others)

• only after looking at all the images and messages, consider what the overall impact is on the social value of the devalued person or group referred to in the article. Even among people familiar with SRV, we tend to characterize a situation as all good or all bad. SRV and the PASSING tool in particular tries to teach the skill of making distinctions and looking at all the information before coming to a judgment.

• ask: what impacts might such images have on the person’s: social roles, opportunities, social value, competency level, etc.?

Let me know how the exercise works, or if you have other ideas for other exercises.

Posted on February 23, 2010 at 11:07 am by MTumeinski · Permalink
In: Uncategorized · Tagged with: , , , ,

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