Broad-based organizing in the UK: reasserting the centrality of political activity in community development

Bunyan, Paul (2010) Broad-based organizing in the UK: reasserting the centrality of political activity in community development. Community Development Journal, 45 (1). pp. 111-127.

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This article examines the emergence of broad-based organizing in the UK and the importance given to political activity within community development. Popularly associated with Saul Alinsky and the work of the Industrial Areas Foundation, the translation from the USA has been problematic. With the emergence and sustained growth of ‘London Citizens’, now one of the largest citizen-based organizations in the country, a firmer foothold has been established. The article examines the central concepts underpinning the political and philosophical basis of broad-based organizing and explores some of the challenges involved in developing and sustaining an approach that is overtly political and utilizes conflict and direct action to engage and negotiate with established power. At a time when the neo-liberal agenda has had a depoliticizing effect upon community development, this provides a model that challenges current orthodoxy associated with ‘partnership’ and ‘empowerment’ and reasserts the centrality of power and politics in promoting change and social reform.

Item Type: Article
Journal / Publication Title: Community Development Journal
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 1468-2656
Departments: Pre June 2020 Academic Departments and Services > Academic Departments > Health, Psychology & Social Studies (HPSS)
Additional Information: Paul Bunyan, part-time lecturer at the University of Cumbria, UK.
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 31 May 2018 11:10
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2021 14:15


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