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29 THREE Community development Community development has always been vulnerable to criticism that it is a term that is both vague and pretentious – claiming too much. Let us begin by taking two examples of how community development tackles local issues: • A community association based in an urban neighbourhood negotiates with the local authority to have a local refuse tip closed because of evidence of leaking gases. The tip is filled in, grassed over and becomes a small environmental park. It is owned by the local authority but is maintained and serviced

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135 NINE The potential of community development Is community development sufficiently well equipped to deliver successful outcomes in the context of civil society and the challenges of the 21st century? That is the question we explore in this chapter. It is a pivotal chapter for three reasons: it expands on the five ways in which, in Chapter Two, we argue that community development can help communities to become part of civil society (challenging, defending, maintaining, recognising and strengthening civil society); it draws on the ideas presented in

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93 SEVEN Where is community development today? Colleagues have suggested to me that community development has arrived at the policy table. Interviews with experienced practitioners and observation of current practice suggests that it is the importance of ‘community’ to the New Labour government that has arrived and not that of community development. It is the newer categories of ‘community engagement’ and ‘community empowerment’ that underpin the 2006 local government White Paper (CLG, 2006) and not that of community development. So what is community

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Making connections in the European context

To what extent are the ideas and practice of community development across Europe similar? Community Development and Civil Society explores this question with special reference to the UK and Hungary and shows how community development connects powerfully with civil society, a concept that today has global significance.

Paul Henderson and Ilona Vercseg argue that community development is both a profession and a social movement and is relevant to a wide range of issues.They interweave case studies with discussion of principles and theory.The book's critical and accessible approach will appeal especially to students and practitioners.

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Making spaces for community development offers an account of the key changes to the context and practice of community development since the 1970s, told through the experiences and insights of a group of highly experienced practitioners. The book, intended for those practising and interested in practising community development today, focuses on dilemmas arising from the shift to partnership working from a more confrontational model, and the professionalisation of the field.

Bringing together a wealth of experience and knowledge from across areas of play and youth work through to the environment, community enterprise, race equality, immigration and housing, the book raises key questions for contemporary debates and current practice.

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13 2 What is community development? This chapter focuses on different understandings of community development. As indicated in Chapter  1, we use ‘community development’ as an umbrella term to cover a range of different methods for working with communities: • to open up opportunities for collective action; • to improve living conditions and services; • to uphold and extend rights; and • to support individual advancement. We set out the core principles and processes that characterise community development and distinguish it from related approaches and

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107 6 Community development in action Community development can contribute to outcomes in many different policy fields: community safety and crime reduction, culture and the arts, education, environment and sustainable development, health and well-being, housing, planning, regeneration and local economic development among them. However, as the following sections demonstrate, many of these issues cannot be divided neatly into policy silos or dealt with by separate professional disciplines. Community development strategies that reduce inequalities and

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Editors: and

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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81 5 Effective and ethical community development As we saw in Chapter 2, community development is fundamentally concerned with enabling communities to organise collectively and gain greater influence over decisions that affect their lives. Its purposes are: • to promote the common good; • to challenge injustices; and • to nurture individual and collective capabilities. Community development has a number of core commitments that workers strive to incorporate into their beliefs and practice. It is primarily concerned with mobilising people and assets to

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57 PART 2 Class, inequality and community development in context

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