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  • Author or Editor: Harriet Rowley x
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Young people are often at the forefront of democratic activism, whether self-organised or supported by youth workers and community development professionals. Focusing on youth activism for greater equality, liberty and mutual care – radical democracy – this timely collection explores the movement’s impacts on community organisations and workers. Essays from the Global North and Global South cover the Black Lives Matter movement, environmental activism and the struggles of refugees.

At a time of huge global challenges, youth participation is a dynamic lens through which all community development scholars and participants can rethink their approaches.

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Reflecting on the contributing chapters of the book, the chapter argues that prefigurative practices of hope are an essential element of social movements and community development. It positions hope as collective action, that has the capacity to emerge out of and in spite of other emotions, such as anger and fear in the face of climate catastrophe and the continued fallout from COVID-19. Drawing on the work of Ernst Bloch, the chapter theorises practices of imagination and action distinguishing educated hope from facile optimism. Drawing also on Braidotti and Derrida, it suggests that community development might open up new spaces ‘beyond binaries’ where exploration of friendship and the (im)possibility of common ground can flourish. The authors propose that hopeful radical democratic practice begins from certain refusals: of authoritarian populism and of neoliberal capitalist realism – in order to practise the inauguration of alternative, freer and more egalitarian forms. They argue that seeing young people as a forefront may require new ways of acting with and being in community.

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How can young people’s activism help us to rethink community development? This collection explores the critical role that young people are playing in building a more hopeful and democratic future. The book has three aims: to show how a focus on ‘youth’ can contribute to sharpening understandings of community development; to foreground conceptualisations of radical democracy within the rethinking of community development; and to link developments within new youth social movements to the work of youth workers and community development practitioners and thus contribute to rethinking this relationship. The collection includes chapters on the eco movement, the struggles of refugees and the Black Lives Matter movement, and on changing understandings of sexual citizenship, highlighting, above all, emancipatory struggles and gestures of solidarity. Some chapters come from a European context, but they are made more complete and complex by the presence of writers and practitioners whose lives began in the Global South in countries such as India, Kenya and Brazil. The rich accounts counter the individualistic nature of capitalist society and reject the view that there is no alternative. In varying ways, authors present prefigurative practices of hope as an essential element of social movements for rethinking community development. Above all, the book calls for us to act in alliance with young people who are at the forefront of radical democratic practices of community development all over the world.

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How can young people’s activism help us to rethink community development? This collection explores the critical role that young people are playing in building a more hopeful and democratic future. The book has three aims: to show how a focus on ‘youth’ can contribute to sharpening understandings of community development; to foreground conceptualisations of radical democracy within the rethinking of community development; and to link developments within new youth social movements to the work of youth workers and community development practitioners and thus contribute to rethinking this relationship. The collection includes chapters on the eco movement, the struggles of refugees and the Black Lives Matter movement, and on changing understandings of sexual citizenship, highlighting, above all, emancipatory struggles and gestures of solidarity. Some chapters come from a European context, but they are made more complete and complex by the presence of writers and practitioners whose lives began in the Global South in countries such as India, Kenya and Brazil. The rich accounts counter the individualistic nature of capitalist society and reject the view that there is no alternative. In varying ways, authors present prefigurative practices of hope as an essential element of social movements for rethinking community development. Above all, the book calls for us to act in alliance with young people who are at the forefront of radical democratic practices of community development all over the world.

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How can young people’s activism help us to rethink community development? This collection explores the critical role that young people are playing in building a more hopeful and democratic future. The book has three aims: to show how a focus on ‘youth’ can contribute to sharpening understandings of community development; to foreground conceptualisations of radical democracy within the rethinking of community development; and to link developments within new youth social movements to the work of youth workers and community development practitioners and thus contribute to rethinking this relationship. The collection includes chapters on the eco movement, the struggles of refugees and the Black Lives Matter movement, and on changing understandings of sexual citizenship, highlighting, above all, emancipatory struggles and gestures of solidarity. Some chapters come from a European context, but they are made more complete and complex by the presence of writers and practitioners whose lives began in the Global South in countries such as India, Kenya and Brazil. The rich accounts counter the individualistic nature of capitalist society and reject the view that there is no alternative. In varying ways, authors present prefigurative practices of hope as an essential element of social movements for rethinking community development. Above all, the book calls for us to act in alliance with young people who are at the forefront of radical democratic practices of community development all over the world.

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How can young people’s activism help us to rethink community development? This collection explores the critical role that young people are playing in building a more hopeful and democratic future. The book has three aims: to show how a focus on ‘youth’ can contribute to sharpening understandings of community development; to foreground conceptualisations of radical democracy within the rethinking of community development; and to link developments within new youth social movements to the work of youth workers and community development practitioners and thus contribute to rethinking this relationship. The collection includes chapters on the eco movement, the struggles of refugees and the Black Lives Matter movement, and on changing understandings of sexual citizenship, highlighting, above all, emancipatory struggles and gestures of solidarity. Some chapters come from a European context, but they are made more complete and complex by the presence of writers and practitioners whose lives began in the Global South in countries such as India, Kenya and Brazil. The rich accounts counter the individualistic nature of capitalist society and reject the view that there is no alternative. In varying ways, authors present prefigurative practices of hope as an essential element of social movements for rethinking community development. Above all, the book calls for us to act in alliance with young people who are at the forefront of radical democratic practices of community development all over the world.

Restricted access

How can young people’s activism help us to rethink community development? This collection explores the critical role that young people are playing in building a more hopeful and democratic future. The book has three aims: to show how a focus on ‘youth’ can contribute to sharpening understandings of community development; to foreground conceptualisations of radical democracy within the rethinking of community development; and to link developments within new youth social movements to the work of youth workers and community development practitioners and thus contribute to rethinking this relationship. The collection includes chapters on the eco movement, the struggles of refugees and the Black Lives Matter movement, and on changing understandings of sexual citizenship, highlighting, above all, emancipatory struggles and gestures of solidarity. Some chapters come from a European context, but they are made more complete and complex by the presence of writers and practitioners whose lives began in the Global South in countries such as India, Kenya and Brazil. The rich accounts counter the individualistic nature of capitalist society and reject the view that there is no alternative. In varying ways, authors present prefigurative practices of hope as an essential element of social movements for rethinking community development. Above all, the book calls for us to act in alliance with young people who are at the forefront of radical democratic practices of community development all over the world.

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The chapter contributes to rethinking community development from the perspective of young people and sets out the key themes. First, the theoretical sources that are key to the debates and the contested nature of community development are presented. The chapter then draws attention to the incomplete potential of community development to rethink forms of collective action and struggle at the local and global level. In the second section, possible meanings of the key term ‘young’ are considered. In particular, the binary discourse used to describe young people’s democratic promise as opposed to the ‘dangerous’ qualities often assigned to impoverished young people. In the third section, the chapter considers two other key terms together – radical democracy and community development. In the case of the latter, it explores the theorisation of difference as a key aspect, both in terms of generation and in terms of the production of many forms of Otherness, in systems influenced by authoritarian populism and a politics of enmity. Crucially the chapter offers an account of radical democratic practice as a counter to this, drawing on the work of Laclau and Mouffe. Finally, the chapter provides an introduction to all the chapters which form the book.

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