Books in our market-leading Community Development list explore and develop the various practices and systems that support communities to take control of their lives, services and environments. They offer essential reading for academics, upper-level undergraduate and graduate-level students in Community Development and related disciplines.
New titles are added to our Rethinking Community Development series every year, an international book series that offers the opportunity for a critical re-evaluation of community development.
Our Connected Communities series showcases collaborative research between universities and communities, seeking to understand the changing nature of communities and their role in addressing contemporary individual, societal and global concerns.
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This chapter is based on empirical research conducted during 2017–19 in a social-housing and multiethnic neighbourhood, Sanitas, located in Tours, France. It focuses on a mobilisation against a renewal project in the neighbourhood and the relationships between different local structures including the Social Centre, Citizen Council and Sanitas Collective. The chapter argues that the top-down creation of participatory tools does not enable real empowerment of inhabitants leading to a local radical democracy but rather reflects the nature of neoliberal urban governance based on the efficiency of urban policies and the deconflictualisation of urban projects. It also discusses the tensions between different groups like young and ‘racialised’ people and activists in associations and the role the Social Centre plays in managing these tensions. Finally, the author highlights the importance of involving youth in the everyday life of the neighbourhood within the context of urban renewal.
The lives of young people living in Brazilian urban peripheries are crossed by the overlaps between territorial stigma, racism, poverty, social insecurity, involvement in illicit activities, contact with criminal justice and diverse experiences of violence and violation of human rights. This chapter reflects on the territorialised and racialised distinctions of rights they experience. It explores the monsterisation and disposability of young people, analysing how structural racism is reproduced by both institutional practices and practitioner attitudes towards them. The chapter examines the possibilities and limits of cultural knowledge translations, diverse socio-historical realities and contrasting policy-practice environments in the context of working with young people between Brazil and the UK. In doing so, it opens up potential lines of dialogue with academics and practitioners by introducing some critical concepts and approaches for community development through the lenses of a pedagogy of convivência/coexistence. The chapter highlights relevant principles as reminders for practice, advocacy, policy impact and, more widely, political incidence, that is, the ability of social agents to influence the political processes and policy agendas.
This chapter analyses a local iteration of an international event focused on dancing for safe water for everyone: Global Water Dances. This large-scale project provides a lens on the ways in which communities form and dissolve on local and global scales, shifting the traditional boundaries and linear narratives of success which have led to this extraordinary era of crises, including climate crises. Foregrounding how, in this context, community is understood as a fluid, with processes in need of ongoing regeneration and reinvention, the chapter attends to how we move together in time; how we dare a mingling of selves and others, local and global. Connecting these concerns, the chapter explores how Global Water Dances aims to think and move with water and each other, to contribute to a shifting sensibility about water as central to issues of social justice, as much as an issue of environmental concern.
This chapter foregrounds the challenges first- and second-generation learners face in Indian higher education campuses by sharing insights gained through the work of Disha, a speak out and peer support group that has been functioning for the last 29 years. Established by the author Dr Sadhana Natu in 1992, Disha is a community-building project based in a psychology department. The chapter shows how thinking from psychology can inform community education processes and how community work can inform a democratic politics of mental health.
A key aspect in Disha is the building of friendship and the consequent unlearning of privilege by those who inherit high caste status. The chapter speaks to many marginalised, as well as privileged youth elsewhere, whether subject to a caste system or other forms of oppressive social hierarchy.
This chapter focuses on the Escape Routes project which aimed to develop approaches for working with marginalised young people involved in drug trafficking in Brazil. The project aimed to produce a better understanding of these young people’s life circumstances, and new methodologies of work to support them when making their way out of criminal networks. The chapter highlights the challenges of structural racism and discrimination to the design and implementation of more inclusive programmes, policies and practices. It argues the need to consider the role of community development and participatory methodologies to not only rethink the actions of government agencies, but also practitioners’ attitudes to create a bridge to a humanised practice. One of the key elements of that is the recognition of young people not as ‘objects’ of intervention, but as agents of their own future.
This chapter explores how young people’s responses to the current ecological crisis appear to be reigniting a culture of anti-capitalism and a desire for radical system change. The chapter shows that despite the nuanced political and socio-economic positions that young people arrive at their activism from, there are common threads that tie their social imaginaries together for a future founded on social justice and collective values. Thus, the chapter argues that young people involved in environmental activism present hope that there is an alternative to the structural economic inequality that is further perpetuating the crisis. Their calls for a future beyond capitalism warrant the serious consideration of all adults; politicians, researchers and practitioners alike. This chapter contributes with joy to that goal, aiming to be a conduit for such young people’s voices, and calls on readers to dare to imagine alongside them.
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.
This chapter explores the gender and sexual citizenship of LGBTQ+ young people. It specifically draws on examples of how digital spaces can act as enablers for young people to create safer and more celebratory community spaces. The chapter outlines a history of societal exclusion, and the contemporary examples of creative and community responses that LGBTQ+ young people have pioneered, turning hardship and discrimination into joy and community. Of particular insight are the ways in which young people lead community development practices and the shift from individualism to collectivism. From these reflections, the authors put forward a new model of practice; Therapeutic Youth and Community Work.
Young people, under the age of 30, living in informal settlements in Kenya face complex and challenging socio-cultural and economic environments. These increasingly include forced displacement, migration, unstable families, violence and mental health problems. Inequities, including those linked to poverty and gender, shape all aspects of adolescent health and wellbeing and these have been exacerbated by responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Young people, as experts in their own lives, are uniquely positioned to provide solutions to their challenges; yet they often remain on the periphery of Kenya’s social, economic and political affairs. They are rarely included in community programming or their role is tokenised, which limits their potential. This chapter contends that a paradigm shift is required, to enable young people to design, implement and evaluate their own programmes. Using the example of a youth organisation in Kenya – Nzumari Africa – the chapter focuses on how youth leadership can create systemic shifts: mobilising young people to challenge the status quo as well as addressing the barriers to their wider participation.
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.