Soapbox & Empowerment Theory

Updated: Aug 26




The Soapbox model incorporates an empowerment and advocacy approach that reinforces the importance of the power of collective community efforts. It acknowledges that even though there are intrinsic effects of social issues on individuals’ well-being, there are also extrinsic effects that need to be attended to. It is imperative for members of the community to recognise their role in taking responsibility for the world and society we create, and acknowledge that it is not only governments, organisations, and services that can create change. Soapbox emphasises the concepts of humanism and anti-discrimination—through an empowerment and advocacy approach—because it believes that individuals do not need to belong at the top of the social hierarchy to positively impact society and create a cultural reform.


The system we know today motivates novel ideas for the sake of profit. However, this does not stimulate a sense of self-satisfaction and does not do good by society. The government will keep these businesses running as it keeps the economy going and helps employ lots of people. The government needs to keep running, so does this by the voting system by “giving” people a voice; however, this simultaneously disempowers the community, as it makes individuals rely on the government to give the community what they need and want. People feel negative because they need their business to survive, and it is frequently not something they are completely passionate about.


Soapbox aims at creating a project that is meaningful and can create some sort of business from it. This way, individuals are still running a business but now inspired through passion, whilst still gaining money. It is important to keep a system that provides for modern survival; however, it is important to ensure a system that is meaningful. One that runs not only for profit by using people’s wants against them, rather creating a society/culture that is motivated by a sense of meaning, passion, and happiness. In today’s society, our emotional needs are commodified, and businesses use this to stoke their profits, but we should focus on them for the sake of humanity. It is for this purpose that Soapbox seeks a unified voice to support constructive cultural reforms.


Advocacy and empowerment theories are significant components that resonate with the Soapbox model. Empowerment is central to social work. Empowerment theory emphasises the idea that people become empowered when they are given the skills and resources they need to implement reforms, become proactive, and develop confidence (Wendt and Seymour, 2010). It also encourages community members to become self-advocates and oppose injustice. Through the empowerment approach, individuals can see both case and cause advocacy require social workers creating rapport with clients of all system sizes to engage in and influence decision-making processes using the empowerment theory approach (Zimmerman, 2000). Individuals with drug misuse or eating disorders, interpersonal or family issues, and emotional trauma caused by divorce, abuse, or losing a loved one are among obstacles that social workers attempt to help people overcome. Individuals are not, however, the exclusive focus of social work. It also seeks to empower groups and communities, particularly those who have experienced oppression and marginalisation in the past (Wendt and Seymour, 2010). Advocating for policy that endorse social justice and equity can also be important parts of social work.


In social work, empowerment theory entails adopting intervention strategies to assist individuals in gaining a sense of control. People may feel overwhelmed for various reasons; however, empowerment theory emphasises the role of oppression in this situation (Zimmerman, 2000). According to empowerment theory, a prominent way to improve the lives of vulnerable individuals is through promoting their personal, interpersonal, and political power (Stoeffler, 2018). This principle also challenges the systems that make it difficult or impossible for people to meet their necessities. When used within the Soapbox platform, empowerment-based case advocacy improves both community and people’s voices, perceptions, and capacity to change a specific problem that is important to them. Similarly, empowerment-based cause advocacy emphasises clients' viewpoints and unique talents to address causes that impact both them and others (Zimmerman, 2000). This is the fundamental goal of the Soapbox magazine, with the contributions of research articles and case studies to raise awareness and empower individuals to seek novel solutions to everyday issues.


In a similar way, advocacy is essential when standing up for, and understanding the needs of, the collective community. Advocacy entails an individual, a group of people, or their representatives, making a case to powerful figures about issues that either explicitly impact them or, more commonly, striving to prevent planned changes that will make them significantly worse (Hoefer, 2019). Advocacy includes the protection of vulnerable individuals, the development of assistance that improves society’s functioning, and the cultivation of identity and control (Hoefer, 2019). This model emphasises the significance of changing the individual from a passive consumer to an active participant in society and their own life (Scourfield, 2021). Soapbox embodies this through its advocacy and promotion of both community projects that seek the betterment of society and contests among people since competition can lead to new and efficient ways of responding to problems. This is because Soapbox believes small initiatives demand more passion, stimulate ideas, and that through more contact with people than occurs in larger projects, they generate more competition and improve people's quality of life by ensuring a sense of fulfillment.


The Soapbox model is not proclaiming to have the answers to every social issue in the community. However, it aims to produce, in cooperation with community members, as many potential solutions as possible. Soapbox wants to create an initiative through community-based research by investigating the various social issues in the community (Soapbox, 2021). To produce change based on evidence, Soapbox tries to connect the community with resources such as time, social demand and exposure, and money (Soapbox, 2021). This will enable individuals to enhance our homes, cities, and communities, one person at a time.


Society is full of issues that seem insurmountable for any one person to respond to. Soapbox encourages people to unite, without discrimination, to tackle social concerns that can bring communities to feel defeated. Soapbox believes everyone, in all levels of society, can be pioneers to positive social reform; because people do want to feel good about life and their place in the world, Soapbox invites everyone to be a part of that action to positive change.




References


Hoefer, R. (2019). Advocacy practice for social justice. Oxford University Press.

Scourfield, P. (2021). Using Advocacy in Social Work Practice: A Guide for Students and Professionals. Routledge.

Soapbox. (2021). Soapbox. https://www.soapbox.sydney/

Stoeffler, S. W. (2018). Community empowerment. In Handbook of Community Movements and Local Organizations in the 21st Century (pp. 265-280). Springer, Cham.

Wendt, S., & Seymour, S. (2010). Applying post-structuralist ideas to empowerment: Implications for social work education. Social Work Education, 29(6), 670-682.

Zimmerman, M. A. (2000). Empowerment theory. In Handbook of community psychology (pp. 43-63). Springer, Boston, MA.

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