Thinking about Power and Privilege is a group for students who came to policy school to be change makers, not just analysts. As such, we don’t shy away from challenging the status quo, even here at GSPP. We work to build a policy world grounded in critical theory, historical narratives of oppressed people, and the lived experiences of local communities. We strive to re-conceptualize the traditional role of the policy analyst from an instrument of bureaucracy to that of a facilitator. We aim to bridge the analyst/community gap by amplifying the voice of the people in the creation of community-driven policies.
We believe that in order to be truly effective, we need more than just spreadsheets and databases. The current trend in policy programs focuses on “neutral” and “objective” policy analyses. We challenge that view and see public policy as a fundamentally people-driven process that is inherently neither neutral nor entirely objective. As such, we see advocacy as a critical part of every policy toolkit, and push to redefine this conception of policy analysis.
In that spirit, most of the same students that founded TaPP in 2013 facilitated a graduate student-led course in Fall 2014 called Power, Privilege and Inclusive Policy Making. The year-long course examined power, privilege and inclusion in public policy with case studies, discussion, and practical applications within and outside the GSPP community. The course produced a white paper on how to integrate participatory policy making concepts into the GSPP community and curriculum, engaged in a real-world policy application in San Joaquin County, and constructed a participatory policy making toolkit for practitioners. Currently, TaPP seeks to build on this foundation in order to actualize more inclusive policy-making both within our school and the broader community.
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