Week 2 Reading on:
Kenny, Susan (2010) ‘The Nature of Community Development’. Developing Communities for the Future: Community Development in Australia. Melbourne: Nelson ITP Tesoriero, Frank (2010) Community Development: Community-Based Alternatives in an Age of Globalisation. French Forest, NSW: Pearson Education
Community development is an ‘activity or philosophy’ (Kenny 2010) initiated by or facilitated among a group (collectively called community) out of dissatisfaction with existing social, economic or political circumstances (Kenny 2010). There are various aspects and approaches (bureaucratic, grassroots, major or minor changes), but both Tesoriero and Kenny identify common and recurring themes for effective community development work.
In the various examples and discourses, community development revolves around the idea of rectifying social inequalities. As an activity, it usually follows the pattern of first identifying a community in need, which is usually ‘a society where groups of people are oppressed, excluded or disadvantaged, inequality of power and resources, and social justice denied’ (pp23). The problem is then defined through study and conversation with the locals, and then delivering or at least proposing an appropriate response. Kenny (2010) warns that it is not an objective activity; the community development worker is subject to the very economic, social and political conditions and should be immersed in the community, not working apart from it. The aim of such work is to empower ‘ordinary’ people through subsidiarity (Hirst, 1994:20), which is the sharing of power to the lowest level possible. This should then result in greater ‘personal autonomy…[where] people have an equal say in the way society is run…[and] resources used’(Kenny 2010). For this, Kenny urges the cultivating of social capital (‘relationships beneficial to social cohesion and development’, Kenny 2010, pp9).
Tesoriero, in turn, highlights that...