With the increasing focus on ‘community’ as the site for renewing democracy, improving policymaking and enhancing service delivery, this book provides a challenging approach to understanding community practice. It offers a much-needed theoretical perspective, sets out an analysis of power and empowerment and explores new ways of understanding active citizenship.
The book covers a wide range of theoretical and practice topics. First presenting a model of critical community practice, the authors draw upon a variety of case studies from Britain and elsewhere to discuss this in the context of work in and with community groups; management; policy and politics; and development of the critical practitioner.
Demands being placed on individuals and organisations have become increasingly complex and greater clarity about community practice is needed. This book, designed to complement the authors’ edited volume “Managing Community Practice" (The Policy Press, 2003) provides just that.
The book’s content will be of particular interest to those following the debates on community involvement in regeneration, social inclusion and health improvement programmes. It will provide a resource for those already engaged in community practice and thus inform the work of local authorities, government agencies, voluntary organisations and partnerships. It will be relevant reading for all those people working to promote change and development in communities. It will also be an essential text for students on a range of professional and management programmes in community development, health, housing, planning and other disciplines with a community focus.
In this essay we analyze critically the idea of knowledge spillovers. We call into question much of the web of syllogism involved in both the microeconomic and aggregate versions of the theory. We certainly do not deny the reality of knowledge spillovers, or that they may be important under certain circumstances. But we do dispute the policy conclusions of the mainstream view of these matters by questioning the plausibility of the assumptions on which the conclusions are laid. Our criticisms fall into two broad categories. Our efforts, however, are not directed mainly towards intellectual (creative) destruction. We also make the affirmative case that spillovers can have a positive value for innovators and that a sensible economics of spillovers may be sought at the microeconomic level in the developing literature on strategic capabilities.