A set of pages exploring the development, theory and practice of community development and community work

The picture 'Happy colors in the sky' is by rogilde and is reproduced here under a Creative Commons Licence (Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic). flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/42903611@N00/495216454/

Introducing community development :

Walking social action: exploring social action and community development through a virtual walk in Bermondsey and Rotherhithe.

 New :

Reclaiming the radical agenda: a critical approach to community development. Margaret Ledwith argues we need to be be vigilant about changes in the political context and to get better at weaving theory into our practice.

Saul Alinsky, community organizing and rules for radicals. Mike Seal examines Alinsky’s continuing relevance to the activities of informal educators, community organizers and animateurs.

Octavia Hill, housing, space and social reform. We explore Octavia Hill pioneering of new forms of housing for working people, and her championship of playgrounds, and access for all to common lands and the countryside.

Ideas :

animation introduced. Animation, formation and education explored. The emergence of animation in France and Italy. Links to the tradition of la vie associative and insertion. The development of practice around performance art and street art.

association, la vie associative and lifelong learning: We explore the process of joining together in companionship or to undertake some task – and the educative power of playing one’s part in a group or association.

capacity building: what is it, and why all the interest in it?

civic community. What are the essential conditions of successful democracies? What is the significance of civic community for the development of good institutions? We explore Robert D. Putnam’s path-breaking analysis of civil traditions in Italy.

communities of practice. The idea that learning involves a deepening process of participation in a community of practice has gained significant ground in recent years. Communities of practice have also become an important focus within organizational development. In this article we outline the theory and practice of such communities, and examine some of issues and questions for informal educators and those concerned with lifelong learning.

community. What is community and why should educators be concerned with it? We explore the significance of boundaries, social networks and social norms – and why attention to social capital and communion may be important.

community development: we explore how the practice of community development has evolved from its largely colonial origins – and some current issues.

community education: the theory and practice of community education.

community education, colonialism and development: We explore in more detail the colonial nature of community education (and community development) and some important themes for practitioners.

community organization: This north American tradition of practice is explored – and some historical and current themes identified.

community participation: popularized initially by agencies associated with the United Nations, but what actually is it?

community studies: A review of the literature.

community work: The development and current position of community work in the UK reviewed. Includes an annotated bibliography.

critical community development. Margaret Ledwith argues we need to be be vigilant about changes in the political context and to get better at weaving theory into our practice.

education for democracy. While our aims change with situations, all educators, it can be argued, share a larger purpose – to foster democracy. But what does this mean? How might schools look? What is the place of informal education?

friendship. Many people’s understanding of friendship in northern societies is rather thin. We explore some classical views of friendship, the development of theory and practice in ‘modern’ societies, and some key aspects of the current experience of friendship. On a linked page we examine some of the implications for educators.

friendship and education. Today received wisdom has it that educators should be friendly with those they work with, but not friends. But is this right? We examine the nature of friendship – and ask whether its cultivation should be an aim of educators and part of education. We also explore the possibilities and problems friendship holds for the theory and practice of informal educators.

james gustave speth, green jazz, social jazz and community development: ‘Just doing it’  – not waiting upon national governments and international organizations to take action – has led to a remarkable outpouring of initiatives around the global environmental crisis. We explore James Gustave Speth’s vision of unscripted, voluntary initiatives that are decentralized and improvisational – what he calls ‘jazz’ – and the possibilities for community development.

the theory and experience of globalization. ‘Globalization’ is a favourite catchphrase of journalists and politicians. Globalization has also become a key idea for business theory and practice, entered academic debates and become a focus for discussion in education. But what people mean by ‘globalization’ is often confused and confusing. Here we examine some key themes in the theory and experience of globalization as a background to exploring the impact on education.

globalization and the incorporation of education. Here we draw out some of the profound implications of globalization for education and the work of educators. Arising out of the globalization process there has been an increased presence of corporations and branding in education. We also look at some of the issues surrounding globalization and education.

informal education and non-formal education, development and colonialism. Globalization is not the same as westernization or colonialism – but it certainly involves imperialist elements. Here we examine the nature of colonialism and its impact on informal education and non-formal education.

neighborhoods (neighbourhoods) and regeneration. Why neighborhoods (neighbourhoods) matter and what can be done to regenerate them.

social capital. The notion of social capital is a useful way of entering into debates about civil society – and it is central to the arguments of Robert Putnam and others who want to ‘reclaim public life’. We examine it’s nature – and some of the issues surrounding its use.

sustainable communities and neighbourhoods. What is a sustainable community? Why is sustainability important?

Settings:

Community associations and centres. Community centres emerged in the United States in the early twentieth century. We review their development and current situation.

Settlements and social action centres. Settlements have pionered a range of innovations within adult education, community development and work with children and young people. We review the development of university and social settlements, educational settlements and social action centres and look at the current situation. We have also compiled an annotated bibliography and listed some useful links.

Thinkers:

Jane Addams. Well known for her work at Hull House, Addams made a seminal contribution to the development of settlement houses and social work in north America.

Saul Alinsky, community organizing and rules for radicals. Mike Seal examines Alinsky’s continuing relevance to the activities of informal educators, community organizers and animateurs.

Henrietta Barnett, social reform and community building. Henrietta Barnett is, perhaps, best known for the development of Hampstead Garden suburb, but she – with Samuel Barnett – was an important social reformer. Their most notable innovation was the university settlement – but they were also active in other arenas.

T. R. (Reg) and Madge Batten and the non-directive approach to community development. The Battens, and particularly T. R., introduced the revolutionary concept of non-directivity to the newly emerging discipline of community development in the second part of the 20th century. George Lovell describes their work and lives, and explores the origins of the non-directive concept in Thomas Reginald Batten’s comparatively unknown groundbreaking work on education and development in Africa 1927-1949.

Mary Parker Follett. With her concern for creative experience, democracy and for developing local community organizations, Mary Parker Follett is an often forgotten, but still deeply instructive thinker for educators and social animateurs.

Paulo Freire. Perhaps the most influential thinker about education in the late twentieth century, Paulo Freire has been  particularly popular with informal educators and social activists with his emphasis on dialogue and his concern for the oppressed.

M. K. Gandhi. His critique of western, particularly English, education was part of his critique of Western ‘civilization’ as a whole. Barry Burke explores his vision.

George Goetschius. Known for his part in establishing the English Stage Company, the American sociologist George W. Goetschius also made a key contribution to deepening the thinking and practice of community development. We explore his work and life.

Antonio Gramsci. Gramsci’s emphasis on critical awareness, the importance of intellectuals being part of everyday life, and on the part played by so-called ‘common sense’ in maintaining the status quo have helped to open up the transformational possibilities of education and community development.

Octavia Hill, housing, space and social reform. We explore Octavia Hill pioneering of new forms of housing for working people, and her championship of playgrounds, and access for all to common lands and the countryside.

Ivan Illich. Known for his critique of modernization and the corrupting impact of institutions, Ivan Illich’s concern with deschooling, learning webs and the disabling effect of professions has struck a chord among many informal educators and animateurs.

Eduard Lindeman. Perhaps best known today for his work in adult education, Eduard C. Lindeman (1885 – 1953) also wrote one of the first books on community development, was an early explorer of groupwork and worked to extend popular education.

Karl Marx. What significance does Marx have for educators and animateurs today? An introduction and assessment by Barry Burke.

Julius K. Nyerere. One of Africa’s most respected figures, Julius Nyerere (1922 – 1999) was a politician of principle and intelligence. Known as Mwalimu or teacher he had a vision of education and social action that was rich with possibility. 

Robert Owen. Robert Owen’s educational venture at New Lanark helped to pioneer infant schools and was an early example of what we now recognize as community schooling. Yet education  was only a single facet of a more powerful social gospel which already preached community building on the New Lanark model as a solution to contemporary evils in the wider world. Ian Donnachie investigates.

Robert. D. Putnam. Robert Putnam has been described as the most influential academic in the world today. His book Bowling Alone seems to have struck a chord with many concerned with the state of public life. Is the hype justified? We explore Putnam’s contribution and its significance for informal educators and animateurs.

Peter Willmott – community, family and public policy. Peter Willmott (1923-2000) played an important role in deepening appreciation of the experiences of people in families and local communities. We assess his work and contribution.

Robert A. Woods. Robert Archey Woods played a pivotal role in the introduction and development of university and social settlements in the United States of America. In this brief assessment we outline his contribution.

Acknowledgement: The picture ‘Happy colors in the sky’ is by rogilde and is reproduced here under a Creative Commons Licence (Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic). flickr – http://www.flickr.com/photos/42903611@N00/495216454/

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