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  • Author or Editor: Peter Westoby x
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This book offers a unique focus on the everyday ethics of community development practice in the context of local and global struggles for equity and social justice.

Contributors from around the world (from India to the Netherlands and USA) grapple with ethical dilemmas and tensions, including how to: respect and learn from Indigenous values and philosophies; challenge environmental destruction; gain consent in divided communities; maintain or breach professional boundaries; and develop new paradigms for transformative community organising, sustainable development and ethically-sensitive practice.

Offering theoretical frameworks, philosophical perspectives and practical case examples (from sex worker collectives to tree action groups and Australian Indigenous communities) this book is essential reading for community-based practitioners, students and academics.

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This chapter concludes the book with philosophical reflections on the nature of ‘community’ as an ethical space and ‘community development’ as an ethical practice. While it may be more usual to begin a text with an abstract philosophical framework within which subsequent practice-oriented chapters are placed or judged, in this book we develop a vision of community and community development at the end. This chapter builds on the diverse narratives of the many ethical challenges relating to policies, organisations and practices recounted by the authors in this volume. They are rooted in the daily doubts and dilemmas faced by people working for transformative change – often in challenging circumstances in the context of a profoundly inequitable world. By turning an ethical lens on this practice, we have focused attention both underneath the macro political and institutional structures and beyond the merely technical and practical toolkits for work on the ground. We have been given accounts of the complexities, uncertainties and contradictions of community development work and the fine textures, including the knots and broken links, that make up the fabric of the ethical spaces in which it is located. What does this mean for our conceptions and theoretical understandings of community and for how we characterise the work that creates, maintains, develops, unsettles and even destroys the ethical space of community?

Community economists Katherine Gibson and Julie Graham (2006) (writing as J.K. Gibson-Graham), drawn on by Gradon Diprose and Ann Hill’s Chapter Nine in this book, use the work of French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy (1991) and North American feminist Iris Marian Young (1990) to argue that ‘we need to liberate community from its traditional recourse to common being … a commonality of being, an idea of sameness’ (Gibson-Graham, 2006: 85–6).

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This chapter evaluates what community development's response might be to right-wing populism. It begins by looking at the literature's analysis of right-wing populism. The chapter then considers a theory of social change that might help in charting a way forward for community development praxis. Community development practitioners need to engage locally and globally, bringing their particular skills in creating spaces, places, and platforms for associational life, filled with dialogical and agonistic conflict. It is their job to create the places where people can put aside their rage, and learn the disciplines of conversation and deliberation, heard, while not affirmed as necessarily right. In a nutshell, the work of reconnecting. These are the basic qualities of liberal democracy also infused with a radical egalitarian spirit, and a cohesive society.

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Using international perspectives and case studies, this book discusses the relationships between community development and populism in the context of today’s widespread crisis of democracy.

It investigates the development, meanings and manifestations of contemporary forms of populism and explores the synergies and contradictions between the values and practices of populism and community development.

Contributors examine the ways that the ascendancy of right-wing populist politics is influencing the landscapes within which community development is located and they offer new insights on how the field can understand and respond to the challenges of populism.

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This introductory chapter provides an overview of the issues that the book discusses, as well as the challenges in editing it. The book offers diverse critical perspectives, both international and cross-disciplinary, on the challenge of how to make sense of contemporary forms of populism and also how community development responds to these. It particularly focuses on right-wing populism. How can those committed to community development endeavours respond to populism? When thinking about any community development response to populism, it is important to understand that feelings of alienation and resentment, and concerns about uncertainty and material insecurity, have a rational basis. From this perspective, populism should be viewed as a symptom of underlying factors that have characterised much of the global state of affairs since the last decades of the twentieth century. Taking the viewpoint that populism is a symptom, any response to populism must be cognisant of the underlying conditions in which populism has arisen. The chapter then considers the view that populism is a symptom of the deterioration of the project of democracy.

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Using international perspectives and case studies, this book discusses the relationships between community development and populism in the context of today's widespread crisis of democracy. It investigates the development, meanings and manifestations of contemporary forms of populism and explores the synergies and contradictions between the values and practices of populism and community development. The book examines the ways that the ascendancy of right-wing populist politics is influencing the landscapes within which community development is located, and it offers new insights on how the field can understand and respond to the challenges of populism.

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Using international perspectives and case studies, this book discusses the relationships between community development and populism in the context of today's widespread crisis of democracy. It investigates the development, meanings and manifestations of contemporary forms of populism and explores the synergies and contradictions between the values and practices of populism and community development. The book examines the ways that the ascendancy of right-wing populist politics is influencing the landscapes within which community development is located, and it offers new insights on how the field can understand and respond to the challenges of populism.

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