READING: IFE 2016 - Principles of community development and their…
READING: IFE 2016 - Principles of community development and their application to practice
THERE IS NO ONE SOLUTION FITS ALL
Things should be done differently in different communities, depending on a host of local, cultural, economic, social and political factors.
This highlights that a 'how to' list is unlikely to be fully applicable; it will have been formulated out of experience in a different context, and the fact that it worked there does not imply that it will work somewhere else.
The development of actual practice will vary from community to community (and worker to worker). Each situation calls for a process of seeing how the important principles of community development can be applied within the specific local context.
We are not the experts:
At the heart of many 'solutions' is a colonialist assumption of superiority and a desire to impose one's own grand scheme on others; this is diametrically opposed to the fundamental ethos of community work.
The principles are not independent, they relate to each other in a variety of ways and when taken together, they represent a coherent approach to community development.
PRINCIPLE: Transition & Transformation
Our global economic and political system is facing multiple crises, suggesting that we cannot go on as we are without serious problems relating to resources, climate, agriculture and the economy.
THEREFORE, community development should not be seen as simply operating within, and helping to maintain the existing system, BUT RATHER as being part of a
to a more just and sustainable society.
The idea of change is inherent in the community development process.
Community development can also move beyond transitions to
, which requires not just a change in the way things operate, nor the context within which events happen, but rather a change of being, a change of world view, a new philosophy or ontology, and new ways if knowing or epistemology.
To addres the crisis facing the world at this time, and to develop a truly sustainable and just alternative, requires change at this far more fundamental level.
(not from reading)
The terms transition town, transition initiative and transition model refer to grassroot community projects that aim to increase self-sufficiency to reduce the potential effects of peak oil, climate destruction, and economic instability through renewed localization strategies, especially around food production
Community Development is RADICAL:
It challenges people not only to change what they do but also who they are, how they think, and what they believe.
(definition not from reading) - A philosophy or perspective that places intrinsic value on all living organisms and their natural environment, regardless of their perceived usefulness or importance to human beings.
Anthropocentrism (definition not from reading)
- A human-centred point of view; the belief that human beings are the central or most important entity in the universe, more so than the ecosystem.
As part of the transformation process we need to dismantle the anthropocentric world view and develop ecocentrism.
By doing so, this decentres the humans as paramount and instead understands that human beings are interconnected with the natural work - both with other animal species and also with the physical environment - and that we are not particularly 'special'.
This requires a rejection of the idea of 'man having dominion' over the rest of the world, inherent in the Judaeo-Christian world view.
We must draw on alternative spiritual traditions of interconnectedness, as found in Buddhism and in Indigenous spirituality in many parts of the world.
This can be a
, however interconnectedness is at the heart of the experience of community; C.D is about supporting and enhancing that interconnectedness, and it is not such a radical step to extend that interconnectedness to the non-human world.
We must engage with the question of how we belong in, and relate to, our physical environment.
Ecocentrism is a way of thinking rather than a way of acting
but with that change in thinking it is inevitable that our actions as community members and community workers will change accordingly.
PRINCIPLE: THE COMMONS
The cultural and natural resources accessible to all members of a society, the joint-property of community members.
(not from reading)
Reclaiming the commons is at the heart of community development.
We therefore need to challenge ideas of individual ownership where practicable, and seek instead to establish structures and processes based on common ownership, and to enlarge the idea of the commons and of 'common wealth'. It extends to common ownership of the economy, culture, decision-making, physical environment, housing, recreation and so on.
- the capacity of an individual to 'break the rules' by exploiting the commons for their own ends.
- establishing some kind of regulatory mechanism around the commons. This is more effectively done when the commons exist at community level; individual people and groups are well known to others, and it becomes easier to establish both formal and informal community-level mechanisms to prevent the abuse of the commons.
THEREFORE, community commons can only be effectively implemented when there are strong and effective community decision-making structures in place.
Challenge 2 -
It can place too much emphasis on communal
, and not enough on communal
. Eg. it is not enough to think about communal ownership of land without also thinking about the responsibility to respect and care for the land.
Potential solution -
When applying the principle of the commons to C.D, we must do so from an ecocentric perspective and consider the responsibilities of the commons.
Relates to Ecocentrism:
The idea of 'ownership' of land, resources and so on negates the principle of ecocentrism as it locates the human as seperate from, and above, the natural world.
The idea that everything relates to everything else, and hence it is necessary to take a broad, systemic perspective in understanding any particular issue, problem or process.
Eg. If a community is concerned with a perceive rise in violent crime, this needs to be understood not only in terms of who is committing crimes of violence, how to catch them and how to prevent them from doing it, it must also look at growing social and economic inequalities, media coverage, town planning, racism, employment opportunities, policies around drug use and criminalisation, the powerful message of the consumer society, the legitimisation of violence in entertainment and so on. These in turn lead to a consideration of neo-liberalism, corporate power, globalisation, levels of social expenditure etc.
All community issues need to be understood in their broad context if a C.D strategy is to be successful.
THE RIPPLE EFFECT:
Holism in practice emphasises the importance of the 'ripple effect' - the idea that we can never just do one thing as every act has multiple effects like ripples in a pond, reaching out to the furthest ends of the system.
Every act we commit changes the world, often in ways we will never know. Every conversation we have with another person changes both of us, in perhaps small but significant ways.
This can be a very empowering way of thinking for people in communities and for community workers, as the concept implies that everything we do or say is important and far from feeling that we are too powerless to change the world. It suggests that we are all changing the world all the time. - The impacts of our actions, in affecting the lives of the people around us, will inevitably have far-reaching consequences for them and for others - the little things are important.
It is essential that any C.D activity occurs within a framework of sustainability, otherwise it will simply reinforce the existing unsustainable order and will not be viable in the long term.
If C.D is to be part of the establishment of a new social, economic and political order, its structures and processes must be sustainable.
Sustainability requires that the use of non-renewable resources be minimised and is possible eliminated. This has implications for local communities in terms of land use, energy, lifestyle, conservation, transport and so on.
Potential solution -
e must aim to minimise dependence on non-renewable resource and to substitute these with renewable resources. Projects and strategies that must be encouraged include - the promotion of bikes as an alternative to cars, choosing economic development projects that do not plunder natural resources, and not using old-growth forest timbers as building materials.
Also part of the solution
- Outputs to the environment such as pollution (eg. fertiliser run-off) need to be minimised, and materials need to be conserved and recycled where possible, such as through the establishment of community-based recycling or community-level renewable energy generation. This in turn acts as a mechanism for establishing stronger community-level contact and encouraging broad-based participation.
Growth has become the norm in many mainstream structures, yet by nature it is unsustainable.
Establishing structures, organisations businesses and industries that do not have to grow to survive is a major challenge for C.D.
Potential solution -
It is important to help communities to accept a philosophy of 'small is beautiful' and to enable them to work out what this means in practice. This in turn brings in notions of 'steady-state' balance, equilibrium and harmony, which are critical aspects of a more
Valuing diversity addresses the ecological dangers of monocultures, the Enlightenment tendency to impose a single order onto everything, the colonialist erosion of other identities, cultural globalisation and the exclusionary discourses of racism, sexism, ageism and so on.
There is always a danger in any activity (such as community development) of seeking to impose one way of doing things, one world view, one 'right' structure, in an attempt to encourage unity or conformity. This is a significant aspect of colonialism, structural oppression and modernity, and so valuing diversity is an important way of framing opposition to such tendencies.
Diversity has been difficult for Western countries because of the difficulty in modernity of accepting the idea of 'different but equal'.
The principle of diversity requires that difference, which is valued, does not also imply judgements of one being somehow superior to another.
Two different types of diversity are important:
1. Diversity between communities:
It suggests that one community does not have to be like others.
Instead of trying to follow a process or model from elsewhere, it can celebrate the differences that make it unique.
It accepts that different communities will have different ways of doing things, rather than imposing a 'right' way to do things. A community is free to experiment, to innovate, and to do and express things in its own way.
What is right for one community is not likely to work in another one.
This means that a community worker must always be prepared to work from below in the way described in chapter 6
2. Diversity within communities:
Emphasises the importance of inclusive structures and processes in the community, so that the community is able to affirm and celebrate not only its own differences from other communities but also the differences within the community itself.
Diversity within a community contributes to richness and dynamics. Building a community out of commonality would be counterproductive.
We do not learn and grow if we only talk to people who are the same as we are. It is from difference rather than sameness that we develop and move forward, as well as gain strength and resilience.
Instead of saying 'in unity is strength' community workers need to be affirming 'in diversity is strength' and seeking to build community out of difference rather than sameness.
Community workers must not only encourage diversity but also then validate it. This can be a challenge in communities with a history and tradition of exclusion (racism, homophobia etc) so the community worker needs a strong human rights and social justice perspective to ensure such exclusion is actively confronted.
(Includes problem and solution)
PRINCIPLE: ORGANIC DEVELOPMENT
Opposite to mechanistic development.
EXAMPLE: Compare a machine to a plant - A machine works independently of its environment, it can be moved to another location and will work the same way, it can be taken away and repaired, it requires a small number of specific inputs, while it is working it basically retains the same structure and form. A plant is far more complex, it is highly dependent on the environment, and interacts with it in many ways, if moved it is likely to die, it grows and changes wth seasons and reproduces, it needs to be nurtured and requires more than routine maintenance.
A community is essentially organic (plant-like), rather than mechanistic (machine-like). Therefore C.D is not governed by simple technical laws of cause and effect but is a complex and dynamic process - tending and nurturing this development is more an art than a science.
C.D is about providing the right conditions and nurturing to enable this development to occur.
It means that one respects and values the community'd particular attributes and allows and encourages it to develop in its own unique way, through an understanding of the complex relationship between the community and its environment.
PRINCIPLE: BALANCED DEVELOPMENT
Community development must balance/take into account all eight dimensions - social, economic, political, cultural, environmental, spiritual, personal and survival development.
Only focussing on one is likely to result in uneven development. EG. the development of a thriving economic base where other human needs are not met, or a wonderfully rich natural environment where people are living in poverty.
It is possible that development in one area can have positive effects in other areas and can be planned/implemented in such a way that its developmental goals link to other aspects of C.D.
community workers need to always keep all eight aspects of C.D in mind, to ensure they are all addressed by the community, and to seeks ways to link them and stimulate development in the other aspects.
None of us are really independent, we all depend on each other in many ways. To encourage people to be independent is to deny the ecological connection between people and between people and the environment.
Community workers need to challenge the ideology of independence and neo-liberalism, and encourage and celebrate our interdependence, recognising that it is only through our interdependence that we can both survive and flourish.
The idea of interdependence, which seems to be so difficult for the positivist Western mind, is completely natural for Indigenous People, and indeed for many other cultural groups.
PRINCIPLE: ADDRESSING DISADVANTAGE & INEQUALITY
To be consistent with a social justice perspective we must always take into account the structural dimensions of oppression, namely concerning class, gender, race/ethnicity, sexuality, age, ability and so on.
At the very least, C.D projects must ensure that they do not reinforce these forms of structural oppression, and C.D should preferably seek to confront and counter them in whatever way appropriate within the particular context.
Community workers must be aware of the complex, subtle and pervasive ways in which forms of oppression operate, through the media, education system, org structures, welfare state, language, economy, market and advertising.
Community workers also need to be critically aware of their own backgrounds, their own (often unconcious) racist, sexist, ageist, class-based, ableist and homophobic attitudes and their own participation in the structures of oppression.
C.D should incorporate strategies specifically designed to overcome such disadvantage, such as affirmative action, positive discrimination, equal opportunity, consciousness-raising and education.
Another aspect of addressing structural disadvantage is the critical link between:
The personal and political
The individual and the structural
Private troubles and public issues
Not linking them may result in the individualisation of social problems, which may reinforce the dominance of conservative and therapeutic solutions that ignore structural issues.
Bringing people together can help people to share their problems and concerns, and to begin to explore ways whereby together (rather than individually) they might do something about them.
ADDRESSING DISCOURSE OF POWER - NOT JUST STRUCTURE OF POWER:
If power relations are defined and redefined in continually changing discourses of power, and if these discourses then become the way in which power is exercised and perpetuated, then it is important for C.D to address discourses of power as well as structures of power.
It is not a case of one or the other but a more inclusive paradigm that encompasses both.
Community workers must be able to identify and deconstruct discourses of power, as well as engage with the dominant discourse and become part of the reconstruction of discource. This way people in the community csn contribute to the reconstruction and can be empowered to help identify approaches to power and power relations and articulate relationships of power from their own perspective rather than someone else's.
Community workers can help community members to articulate their view within the wider societal discource (eg through social media, internet, or mainstream media) and thereby contribute to the redefinition of power relationships.
It is the capacity to articulate an alternative vision, and to have it validated within the dominant discourse. This is at the heart of community empowerment.
PRINCIPLE: EMPOWERMENT OVER POWER
providing people with the resources, opportunities, vocabulary, knowledge and skills to increase their capacity to determine their own future, and to participate in and affect the life of their community.
Empowerment should be the aim of all C.D. It is a form of radical change, and should overturn existing structures and discourses of domination.
It requires an understanding of the barriers to people exercising power and how they can be addressed and overcome.
Examples of barriers include:
structures of oppression, language, education, personal mobility, domination of elites of the structures and discourses of power.
Challenge & solution -
It is too much to expect that any C.D project will be able to achieve empowerment single-handedly, it would be almost bound to fail. However, C.D can have more modest empowerment aims. Any increase in empowerment for the disadvantaged would help bring about a more socially just society, and enable more effective community-based structures to be put in place.
Empowerment can simply be a by-product of another developmental process rather than being a stated aim. EG - a community recycling program, adult literacy class or establishment of a women's refuge could be done in a way that the people/community involved are empowered by the process.
To do this, people must be encouraged to take control of the project themselves and through it to learn that they can indeed have more control over their community and their lives. They are then not seem as volunteer helpers but rather a vital part of the process - the project becomes
DO NOT GIVE FALSE HOPE:
It is not true that people can get anything they want
Empowerment doe snot involve telling people they can have power and all they have to do is grab it
Making people feel good and giving them confidence is important/essential but is certainly not sufficient. Working on a genuine empowerment strategy takes a lot of time, energy and commitment, and requires significant change which is likely to be resisted and will require long, hard struggle.
PRINCIPLE: NEEDS & RIGHTS FROM BELOW
C.D should seek to bring about agreement between the various need-definers - namely, the population as a whole, consumers, service providers and researchers.
When these need-definers hold different perceptions, there is less likelihood that people's needs will be effectively met.
Community workers should seek to bring about an effective dialogue between these need-definers, to develop a consensus about the community's needs.
In saying this, despite the importance of these need-definers, the need definition of the people themselves (community members) should take precedence as long as ecological and social justice principles are not compromised.
engage people in a dialogue that will lead them to be better able to articulate their true needs (Marcuse 1964) and not have needs defined for them by others.
This reflects a 'from below' approach.
LINKED PRINCIPLE: LOCALISATION
The localisation movement has sought to re-engage with the local. It involves the establishment of structures and the organisation of human services at a local level.
It recognises the limits of globalisation and the way it has eroded community, devalued human rights and exacerbated economic inequality.
It is important for C.D to resist the centralisation of structures and services where possible, and to establish decentralised structures embedded in local communities, as they will not only deliver more appropriate and contextualised human services, but will also strengthen the fabric of the community and enable people to achieve their humanity in solidarity with others at community level.
The worker must work towards strengthening whatever structures and processes already exist, and finding ways to assist communities to establish more activities at the local community level.
This thinking is reflected in a wide range of genuinely community-based processes, services and programs, such as:
Community health, community schools, community markets, community currencies, community aged car, community-run housing programs, community recycling, community energy generation.
LINKED PRINCIPLE: VALUING LOCAL KNOWLEDGE
Local knowledge and expertise are likely to be of most value in informing C.D, and they must be identified and validated rather than subordinated to the knowledge and expertise of the outside expert, which could essentially devalue and disempower the community.
Of course there are times when external knowledge will be needed, but this must be where possible a last resort, only after the community itself is satisfied that the necessary knowledge is not available within the community.
Solution: the C.D process should seek to (a) identify local knowledge, (b) assess the extend of local expertise (whether formally recognised or not), and (c) realise that external expertise can help a community only in a more general way rather than in terms of specific programs.
LINKED PRINCIPLE: ASSET-BASED DEVELOPMENT
Assets-based development -
the community's strengths or assets are the key basis for developmental work, not its problems.
C.D is often conceived from a deficit perspective - something is wrong with the community that needs to be fixed. Or, C.D is seen as a solution to a problem such as juvenile offending, DV, poverty, mental illness etc. These agendas are often set by people external to the community (eg managers, politicians or funders).
Although C.D does play an important role in addressing these problems, this can lead to an assumption that it is 'deficient' communities that need C.D.
Starting the C.D process by focussing on a problem or deficit is not a good starting point for C.D that seeks to draw on the assets of a community.
By starting with a community's strengths there is likely to be a more positive feeling about C.D and a stronger sense of ownership of the process.
It also means that C.D is seen not only as something for communities with problems but rather for all communities.
ABCD (Asset based community development) model - read more about it if using in assessment.
LINKED PRINCIPLE: VALUING LOCAL CULTUR
E (p. 269)
cultural globalisation is robbing communities around the world of their cultural identity.
Local cultural traditions and processes need to be validated and supported as part of the C.D process. It must still however adhere to other principles such as human rights, sustainability, the need to confront structures and discourses of disadvantage. This is because uncritical reinforcement of local culture can sometimes entrench exclusive, unsustainable and marginalising practices.
A community that does not value its local culture is denying its members the opportunity for a strong local identity, which is essential to an experience of community.
Encourage a participatory culture that allows people to express their cultural identity in locally contextualised ways.
LINKED PRINCIPLE: VALUING LOCAL RESOURCES
The idea of self-reliance implies that the community should seek to use its own resources (financial, technical, natural and human) wherever possible rather than relying on external support.
The development of locally based economic systems such as LETS is a very good way to use untapped resources and to ensure that the value of people's labour remains in the community.
Seeking local financial support for community projects is not always possible but it is normally preferable to relying on external sources of funding as these inevitably impose their own conditions, which may not correspond with the community's interest. It is worth asking the question - if it can't be done with local resources, is it worth doing at all?
The dominant 'welfare state' way of thinking means that people will often ignore such local resources, and seek support from elsewhere - normally from governments. This can weaken local community structures and is of doubtful long-term value given increasing doubt about the viability of the welfare state. Government sponsorship of C.D can erode self-reliance and weaken the basis of community.
Make an inventory of the interests and expertise available within the community, then make this info widely accessible. This can stimulate community interest and involvement, and help get people talking together.
Self-reliant communities are going to be in a much better position to cope with a future of uncertainty and crisis.
POSSIBLE CRITICISM AND REBUTTAL:
An approach to C.D that seeks to minimise gov funding might be criticised as 'playing into the hands of the Right' by providing governments with a ready excuse to cut social spending on the grounds that programs are better run by autonomous, self-reliant communities.
HOWEVER, if a community independent of government it is in a much stronger position to criticise government, to propose progressive or radical alternatives and to be free of government control - whereas a group that receives gov funding inevitably has this independence compromised and gov control seems to be increasing.
Governments (whether of the Right or the Left) have more more to fear from the actions of independent autonomous and self-reliant communities than from groups that can effectively be controlled through gov financial support - so a move towards reducing a community's dependence on gov can hardly be seen as a right-wing conspiracy. The C.D vision after all seeks to provide an eventual alternative to government, and it is therefore necessary to break free of the constraints of operating within the gov system.
(Other sources of funding such as foundations are often less restrictive than government, as such funding bodies are often more able to accept the legitimacy of a community-based alternative. It does not threaten their very existence in the way it may do for governments. However the same principles of self-reliance and independence eventually apply).
COMMUNITY OWNERSHIP SOLUTION: (p. 271)
Very few material resources are owned at community level. Most commodities, land, buildings and so on are either owned by individuals or small businesses, or by large entities such as corporations or governments.
Community ownership tends to be confined to such things as the community hall, local parks and garden and the plant and equipment of local government.
Increasing community ownership can help support a community's sense of identity, give people more reason to become actively involved at community level and it can be a more efficient use of resources.
A prime example of community-level ownership is a local library, and it could be extended even further eg with a toy library, tool library etc.
Another promising approach is a convenient central location of facilities such as a computer room, a workshop, a laundry or vegetable garden.
Other examples include men's sheds, community gardens, churches and mosques.
LINKED PRINCIPLE: VALUING LOCAL SKILLS
A C.D approach must seek to value and maximise community member's skills rather than devaluing and marginalising them.
The community worker is likely to have important or relevant skills however these skills have to be located within the local context and need to be applied appropriately to the specific location. The same skills cannot be used everywhere, they need to be modified and applied differently in different contexts.
The worker must realise that community members themselves possess important skills and that ultimately these are what will drive the C.D process. The worker's time should be spent on reinforcing, supporting and valuing the work of community members and helping them apply their particular skills in the interests of the whole community.
When community workers and members go beyond applying their particular skills and actually skill each other. It is a two-way exchange of skills.
EG. the skill of working with the media is likely to be well developed by an experienced community worker, but if they were to do all of the media liaison and interviews etc themselves, community members will not be able to develop the skill themselves.
It means that when the worker leaves the community, the skills remain behind and community members will be more empowered.
A C.D approach involves not privileging the worker's skills over those of the community, as the community members undoubtedly have many skills the worker does not.
LINKED PRINCIPLE: VALUING LOCAL PROCESSES
Things do not work very well when they are imposed from outside, compared to community-based structures and processes.
A C.D approach cannot be imposed, it must be genuinely developed within the community, in a way that fits the specific context and is sensitive to local community culture, traditions and environment.
If a government or NGO was to attempt to develop a policy on C.D that sets out a model of how it should be achieved, is futile and contradictory. Governments can certainly assist the processes of C.D - provision of resources, communication, support and networking - but they cannot determine how C.D should occur.
Any textbook or manual that specifies 'how to do' C.D is at best ineffective and at worst dangerous, as it devalues local processes.
When governments try to become involved they tend to do so within traditional bureacratic frameworks which involve vertical communication, accountability upwards, the imposition of policies and the encouragement of uniformity.
C.D perspective requires horizontal communication (learning from each other, not from imposed expertise), accountability to the community and the encouragement of diversity. This applies as much to process as it does to knowledge, culture, resources and skills.
ROLE OF 'EXTERNAL EXPERTS':
It doesn't mean that the C.D process cannot benefit from experience gained elsewhere - something that has been shown to work well somewhere else is still worthy of attention - it just needs to be adapted to the local community if it is believed to be able to improve local processes.
Outside experts or consultants may have something valuable to contribute however they must be prepared to do so in a way that respects the unique features of the local community and does not seek to impose externally derived answers.
LINKED PRINCIPLE: LINKING THE GLOBAL TO THE LOCAL:
In a globalising world, the practice of C.D cannot ignore global issues/forces. They affect all communities and are a contributing factor to the problems and issues that a community faces.
The worker needs to understand the global as well as the local, and how they interact and how to action.
It is challenging but can be achieved by using a globalisation from below approach that is in the interests of ordinary people and communities, and that links them in global yet grassroots action for change.
The key thing for workers is to be explore ways in which the community can link its own experiences and aspirations to global movements for change.
C.D is essentially about process rather than outcome, about the journey rather than the arrival.
Hence many of the practice principles focus on the idea of process.
LINKED PRINCIPLE: PROCESS, OUTCOME & VISION
Alinsky's means and ends approach (1971) sees the end as critically important and the only reason for thinking about means relates to their effectiveness in reaching the desired end. Ethical and moral issues are irrelevant.
Gandhian's approach (Gandhi 1942) sees process and outcome as integrated - the process (including ethical and moral issues) is important in determining the outcome.
Concentrating on process however can lead one to lose sight of the ultimate vision. For this reason, it is essential that the process always be located in its wider context (with a vision). Having a vision emphasises the importance of having some idea of where you are headed and what it is all for, it is the vision that provides the purpose for the process.
TENSION BETWEEN GOALS VS VISION:
There is always tension between the achievement of immediate goals and the ultimate vision of a better society. Focussing on just one can mean that the other becomes forgotten.
Pragmatic vs idealistic
Both are equally importance and must be balanced. The challenge is to link them together. Immediate actions cannot be justified unless they are compatible with the ultimate vision, and the ultimate vision cannot be justified unless it relates to people's immediate day-to-day concerns.
LINKED PRINCIPLE: PROCESS & TASK
Typically, both workers and members will be engaged in specific daily tasks, and there is always a danger that suck tasks can become so engaging for the people involved that they lose sight of important process issues (eg whether everyone is included, if particular people have taken over, whether people have been marginalised etc.
It is important to stop from time to time and take stock of process issues such as these, and not let the task at hand obscure these important matters. One way to do this is to have an informal evaluation session at the end of any task or meeting, where people can talk about how they felt about the process.
LINKED PRINCIPLE: INTEGRITY OF PROCESS
The process can be seen as the actual outcome, as the aim of C.D is ultimately to establish viable community processes. Hence, the process must conform with the expectations of any vision or outcome in terms of such issues as sustainability and social justice.
If C.D can use processes that themselves express ideals of sustainability and social justice, then it is more likely to be able to achieve its longer-term vision.
Using conventional 'political' approaches to process are unacceptable. To attempt to achieve change by stacking meetings, pushing through decisions, 'playing the numbers', using confrontational tactics, working behind people's backs or generally being devious and manipulative will only reinforce the patterns of interaction one is trying to change and will neither empower people nor be effective in the longer term. Such results may be better at achieving short term specific results but they have no place in C.D.
Professional vocab can be misleading and seductive, and can be used to justify or legitimise activities that are the opposite of genuine empowerment.
The C.D process always needs close scrutiny to ensure that the integrity of the process is maintained. They need to be critically evaluated for what they really are which means breaking through the illusions of acceptability sometimes created by technical or professional language.
It seeks to help people explore together their personal experiences of life and the links between these and the structures or discourses of power and oppression, with a view to creating space for effective action for change.
A worker can look for any opportunity to undertake consciousness-raising informally in the course of day-to-day conversation with people in the community, it does not need to be a deliberate process.
Example - a worker speaking to a community member who is unemployed, and examining together the structural reasons for unemployment, the unequal distribution of work, the exploitation of the workforce, and so on.
It does not need to be done in a threatening, arrogant or 'intellectual' way, it can simply be introduced into regular conversation.
It can simply be allowing a safe space for people to talk, to share their ideas, hopes, fears, triumphs and disappointments.
Four aspects/stages of consciousness-raising:
Linking the personal and the political
Developing a dialogue relationship
Sharing experiences of oppression
Opening up possibilities for action
PRINCIPLE: RELATIONSHIP & DIALOGUE
Successful C.D relies on workers capacity to nurture relationships and use relationship developmentally.
In dialogue, we seek to learn from each other, not privileging the wisdom and expertise of one person over another, but also recognising that each can contribute and has something to learn from the other.
Strong communities will exist where the relationships between members have the characteristics of dialogue - whether members relate together in an open, learning way, developing solidarity and action.
PRINCIPLE: PARTICIPATION - RECLAIMING DEOMCRACY
C.D must always seek to maximise participation, with the aim being for everyone in the community to be actively involved in community processes and activities, and to recreate community and personal futures.
The more people who are active participants, the more the ideals of community ownership and inclusive process will be realised.
Not everyone will participate in the same way - different people have different skills, interests and capacities. Good community work will provide the broadest possible range of participatory activity and will legitimise equally all people who are actively involved.
Participation can take any form - eg. cooking, organising, making music, involvement in sport, online work, visiting others, fundraising, gardening.
Class, gender and race/ethnicity need to be taken into account. Workers must change the nature of traditionally exclusive activities to enable more people to participate effectively.
Workers must equally value other forms of participation, seeing each as critically important and dependent on the others.
The need to reclaim democracy:
The 'democracy' of modern Western societies is significantly compromised and corrupted, largely by the interests of big business and transnational capital, whereby corporations and finances is valued over people and communities.
C.D must explore and implement different forms of citizen participation.
PRINCIPLE: COOPERATION & CONSENSUS
There is a need for cooperative structures rather than competitive structures
Many of the structures, process and institutions of modern society are built on the assumption of the virtue of competition (eg the education system, economy, business, employment, media, arts, recreation and healthcare)
C.D should seek to challenge the dominance of the competitive ethic, and to demonstrate that it is largely based on false assumptions.
At a basic level, C.D can seek to bring about more cooperation in community activities, by bringing people together and by finding ways to reward the cooperative behaviour of individuals or groups (eg. reducing municipal rates for housing cooperatives)
Consensus does not mean that everyone hs to agree, but rather everyone has agreed on a process and is satisfied that the outcome of that process represents the best decision that could be reached in the interests of the group, and where everyone has a stake in both the process and outcome.
PRINCIPLE: THE PACE OF DEVELOPMENT
A natural consequence of organic development is that it is the community itself that must determine the pacw at which development occurs.
Attempting to push a C.D process too quickly can result in the process being fatally compromised, the community losing any sense of ownership of that process, and loss of commitment by the people involved. For this reason, the bureaucractic mode is inappropriate for C.D.
Community processes take time, but there is usually no alternative but to stay with the process and allow it to take as long as it takes. Community workers may be tempted to speed it up but this should not be done.
PRINCIPLE: PEACE & NON-VIOLENCE
Non-violent ends cannot be met using violent means.
Non-violence implies more than simply the absence of physical violence between people. The notion of structural viilence implies that social structures and institutions can themselves be seen as violent - A coercive society, or a society that oppresses people, although it may not use overt violence, is seen as violent in these terms.
Gross inequality in the distribution of wealth and opportunity, sexism, racism and other forms of structural disadvantage represent a form of violence.
Similarly, the legal, education and social security systems reflect a violent society because of the elements of coercion involved and the way they perpetuate social control.
A non-violent approach opposes and seeks to counter the more obvious and immediate manifestations of violence (DV, police brutality, death penalty etc), and provide non-violent alternatives such as mediation and remove the causes of such violence (eg providing more support to families).
This requires that processes always seek to include rather than exclude, that all people be intrinsically valued even if they hold opposing views, and that people be allowed space to change their position on an issue without losing face.
Confrontation is sometimes inevitable and indeed desirable, but there are non-violent principles of confrontation. These principles are difficult to maintain (especially if one has been socialised in a society that values competition and where confrontation, conflict and violence are well entrenched, however they are critically important for successful C.D.
Examples of principles:
Never seek to provoke, and always respond to the provocation of others by non-violent means
Always seek to establish dialogue and to increase mutual understanding
Seek to understand the other's POV, and respect the right of that person to hold that position even if you disagree.
PRINCIPLE: DECOLONISING PRACTICE
Worker can readily colonise those with whom they are working, taking over the agenda, devaluing the culture and experience of the community and stripping the people of their identity.
Ways workers can guard against colonialist practice:
Critical self-awareness, political awareness and reflection
Locating themselves within the dominant or colonising culture and exploring implications of this
Allowing space for an alternative discource and action to emerge, and for the natural resistance of the colonised to be expressed and worked through
Stepping back to listen and learn before rushing into action
Working in solidarity with the people and sharing a common agenda
Applying the test of reciprocity and asking how the worker would feel if the situation were reversed and they were subjected to the 'development' that is proposed for the community.
CHAPTER 11 - CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT
Issue 1 - culture becoming globalised:
The globalisation of culture has followed the same pattern as the globalisation of the economy. A universal culture is emerging, propagated increasingly through global media, which are largely controlled by and work in the interests of global capital.
TV, music, architecture, food, drink, clothing, sport and other forms of recreation are becoming increasingly similar wherever in the world one happens to be.
In the face of this globalisation of culture, it is very difficult for communities to preserve their own unique local culture, yet it is a crucial component of C.D.
Diversity of culture must be retained - it is culture that gives people that critical sense of identity and belonging, so cultural development is of paramount importance for community.
Issue 2 - culture becoming commodified:
Cultural activity becomes something that is produced, packaged, bought and sold, rather than something that is the property of the whole community and in which people are free to participate.
Instead pf making music, we listen to elite performers through headphones, instead of playing sport we watch it on TV, instead of acting, we watch a movie. Our role is as passive and paying consumers, and any attempts to participate in more than the prescribed acceptable ways (eg. polite applause) is likely to lead to our forcible ejection from the event.
More often, through technology, the activity itself will be far removed from our own reality, in both time and place, and our participation is non-existent.
These are activities reserved for elite professionals, most of us aren't good enough and we become embarrassed and are not included to continue to participate.
The message is that such things are really the domain of the professional and our role is primarily the passive one of consumer of the packaged product.
This is a historically recent phenomenon because until the 20th century, such cultural activities were largely local and highly participatory (eg dinging in a pub or around the piano, amateur theatrical companies, town bands), and regional differences were significant and important.
This cultural diversity helped to provide a sense of identity and community.
FOUR COMPONENTS OF CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT:
Preserving and valuing local culture
Preserving and valuing Indigenous culture
Cultural diversity / Multiculturalism
CHAPTER 15: THE ORGANISATIONAL CONTEXT
This can be a source of great frustration for community worker because the culture of managerialism, which is so dominant in government and NGO settings, is incompatible with the principles of C.D.
The reality is that much community work is undertaken by workers who are employed in more traditional bureaucratic and managerial structures, whether government or non-government.
A term used to describe the context of government and non-government organisations.
It embodies a top-down perspective whereby expert managers are seen as having superior wisdom - this is consistent with the concentration of power in the hands of the wealthy elite.
Managers know best
Top-down control and accountability upwards
Content-free management (the skills of management are seperate from the content of what is managed, management is seen as the same across different fields (eg. manager can work just as well at a supermarket as a prison or school)
Solving problems through management and organisational change (the natural response is to assume a problem can be solved by more or better management)
Predictability, log frames and KPI's
Evaluation, monitoring and surveillance
Tendering and purchase of service
RESPONDING TO MANAGERIALISM:
challenge it or find ways to work within and around it.
Human service orgs don't need more management - they need more C.D.
Opportunities to challenge managerialism will always be there as any regime like managerialism will always contact contradictions. Therefore, there can be 'sights of resistance' (Bourdieu 1998) where workers can seek to articulate and nurture alternative ways of thinking and doing.
Use of language/jargon - the language that a worker chooses and refuses to use can create important spaces for questioning and dialogue
The power of the collective - talking with colleagues, having informal meetings perhaps over lunch or after work, becomes a starting point for collective action in an org.
Redefining work and play - recognising that a workers and managers view of play and work may be different, and having discussions with your manager about the important role and benefit of 'play'
Middle management - not all managers are the enemy, recognise their contradictory position and seek to form constructive working relos with them.
The organisational chart - draw the org chart upside down and present in meetings.
Research and data collection
Funding sources- seeking it from somewhere other than government.