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This book, the second title in the Rethinking Community Development series, starts from concern about increasing inequality worldwide and the re-emergence of community development in public policy debates. It argues for the centrality of class analysis and its associated divisions of power to any discussion of the potential benefits of community development. It proposes that, without such an analysis, community development can simply mask the underlying causes of structural inequality. It may even exacerbate divisions between groups competing for dwindling public resources in the context of neoliberal globalisation. Reflecting on their own contexts, a wide range of contributors from across the global north and south explore how an understanding of social class can offer ways forward in the face of increasing social polarisation. The book considers class as a dynamic and contested concept and examines its application in policies and practices past and present. These include local/global and rural/urban alliances, community organising, ecology, gender and education.

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This book, the second title in the Rethinking Community Development series, starts from concern about increasing inequality worldwide and the re-emergence of community development in public policy debates. It argues for the centrality of class analysis and its associated divisions of power to any discussion of the potential benefits of community development. It proposes that, without such an analysis, community development can simply mask the underlying causes of structural inequality. It may even exacerbate divisions between groups competing for dwindling public resources in the context of neoliberal globalisation. Reflecting on their own contexts, a wide range of contributors from across the global north and south explore how an understanding of social class can offer ways forward in the face of increasing social polarisation. The book considers class as a dynamic and contested concept and examines its application in policies and practices past and present. These include local/global and rural/urban alliances, community organising, ecology, gender and education.

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This book, the second title in the Rethinking Community Development series, starts from concern about increasing inequality worldwide and the re-emergence of community development in public policy debates. It argues for the centrality of class analysis and its associated divisions of power to any discussion of the potential benefits of community development. It proposes that, without such an analysis, community development can simply mask the underlying causes of structural inequality. It may even exacerbate divisions between groups competing for dwindling public resources in the context of neoliberal globalisation. Reflecting on their own contexts, a wide range of contributors from across the global north and south explore how an understanding of social class can offer ways forward in the face of increasing social polarisation. The book considers class as a dynamic and contested concept and examines its application in policies and practices past and present. These include local/global and rural/urban alliances, community organising, ecology, gender and education.

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This book, the second title in the Rethinking Community Development series, starts from concern about increasing inequality worldwide and the re-emergence of community development in public policy debates.

It argues for the centrality of class analysis and its associated divisions of power to any discussion of the potential benefits of community development. It proposes that, without such an analysis, community development can simply mask the underlying causes of structural inequality. It may even exacerbate divisions between groups competing for dwindling public resources in the context of neoliberal globalisation.

Reflecting on their own contexts, a wide range of contributors from across the global north and south explore how an understanding of social class can offer ways forward in the face of increasing social polarisation. The book considers class as a dynamic and contested concept and examines its application in policies and practices past and present. These include local/global and rural/urban alliances, community organising, ecology, gender and education.

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In contexts across the world, community development is being rediscovered as a cost-effective intervention for dealing with the social consequences of global economic restructuring that has taken place over the last half century. This chapter introduces the term ‘community development’ and its plurality of meanings, as well as introducing the ways in which community development can be used to address inequality. The authors pose that class should be central to an analysis of inequality and the ways in which it is framed by community development strategies. The chapter then goes on to give a more detailed explanation of the terms ‘class’ ‘inequality’ and ‘community development’ and how they interplay with one another. The chapter concludes by giving a description of the layout of the remainder of the book.

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We are writing as teachers and academics with substantial experience over many years (50 years combined) on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes of professional community education. This chapter is derived from that experience and developed from Community Engagement: A Critical Guide for Practitioners (Shaw and Crowther, 2017), a practical resource intended to guide workers as they confront the contemporary challenges of community engagement.

The formation of professional community education services in Scotland was an outcome of the 1975 Alexander Report on Adult Education: The Challenge of Change (Scottish Education Department, 1975), which was adopted by most local authorities. It was not until early 2000 that the term went largely out of favour in the context of local government reform. Whilst the term ‘community education’ has been largely abandoned in policy in Scotland, and other parts of the UK, it still carries historical resonance as a form of educational work rooted in the lives of real people, whatever the contingencies of context. It therefore continues to raise expectations of a curriculum that draws creatively on people’s experiences in order to enlarge the space for cultivating and sustaining critical community engagement.

These aspirations, however, are increasingly subject to competing rationalities. First, they are at odds with the realities of contemporary higher education in the UK. We are based in a research-intensive university, operating within a wider system of marketised higher education. In this context, the professional locus of our work, and the ideological commitments that inform it, tend to be marginal at best; at worst, surplus to institutional requirements.

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This is the first book in the series Rethinking Community Development and it sets the tone for the series as a whole by probing some fundamental challenges and dilemmas for community development today. As contributors address the book title, Politics, Power and Community Development, they raise issues of international relevance but which are, nonetheless, specific in their focus. In its three sections and 13 chapters, contributors explore how diverse political and power configurations shape and are shaped by community development processes. There are critical reflections on policy and practice in Taiwan, Australia, India, South Africa, Burundi, Germany, the USA, Ireland, Malawi, Ecuadorian and Peruvian Amazonia and the UK. While all authors direct their chapters explicitly towards community development, in some cases their contributions are informed by a particular policy interest or political question. These include: the commons and alternative economies; global governance and the (post) Washington Consensus; disability arts and the affirmation model; challenges to diversity and egalitarian policies; environmental justice in the context of oil exploration; gender equality and the successes and limitations of India’s Panchayat system; service delivery protests and democratic deficits; and the remaking of place in the name of cultural specificity and economic competitiveness. A recurring issue across the book is the dominance of neoliberalism internationally, and the extent to which practitioners, activists and programmes can challenge, critique, engage with or resist its influence.

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The increasing impact of neoliberalism across the globe means that a complex interplay of democratic, economic and managerial rationalities now frame the parameters and practices of community development. This book explores how contemporary politics, and the power relations it reflects and projects, is shaping the field today.

This first title in the timely Rethinking Community Development series presents unique and critical reflections on policy and practice in Taiwan, Australia, India, South Africa, Burundi, Germany, the USA, Ireland, Malawi, Ecuadorian and Peruvian Amazonia and the UK. It addresses the global dominance of neoliberalism, and the extent to which practitioners, activists and programmes can challenge, critique, engage with or resist its influence.

Addressing key dilemmas and challenges being navigated by students, academics, professionals and activists, this is a vital intellectual and practical resource.

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This is the first book in the series Rethinking Community Development and it sets the tone for the series as a whole by probing some fundamental challenges and dilemmas for community development today. As contributors address the book title, Politics, Power and Community Development, they raise issues of international relevance but which are, nonetheless, specific in their focus. In its three sections and 13 chapters, contributors explore how diverse political and power configurations shape and are shaped by community development processes. There are critical reflections on policy and practice in Taiwan, Australia, India, South Africa, Burundi, Germany, the USA, Ireland, Malawi, Ecuadorian and Peruvian Amazonia and the UK. While all authors direct their chapters explicitly towards community development, in some cases their contributions are informed by a particular policy interest or political question. These include: the commons and alternative economies; global governance and the (post) Washington Consensus; disability arts and the affirmation model; challenges to diversity and egalitarian policies; environmental justice in the context of oil exploration; gender equality and the successes and limitations of India’s Panchayat system; service delivery protests and democratic deficits; and the remaking of place in the name of cultural specificity and economic competitiveness. A recurring issue across the book is the dominance of neoliberalism internationally, and the extent to which practitioners, activists and programmes can challenge, critique, engage with or resist its influence.

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