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Community development: political process with radical intent.

Jean McEwan-Short

Abstract


This paper discusses the challenges to community development practice in a pervading neoliberal culture. Situating community development firmly in a radical framework it argues that embracing values-led practice is crucial when striving to hold onto the aim of facilitating social change. Central to this is the belief that the community development practitioner needs to have a developed understanding of structural inequalities in society and that critical, values-led practice that understands power dynamics and exposes assumptions is vital in challenging oppression and inequalities. Further, it is both possible and necessary to ensure that community development values embody all aspects of practice and in doing so this can ultimately impact at wider levels of society. Arguing that the values are radical by nature, this is a call to embrace fully the values that define community development and to hold onto radical practice in order to work towards influencing change in society.


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