Community Development: A Critical Approach
Margaret Ledwith, BASW/Policy Press
ISBN 1861346956, £18.99
STAR RATING: 4/5
Community development is enjoying something of a renaissance at the moment as New Labour tries to square expanding the market while supporting the most vulnerable in our society, writes Keith Popple.
This form of “caring” capitalism is a long way from the social democracy of previous Labour governments. But New Labour’s approach to complex social problems reflects the difficult times we live in.
As part of its attack on poverty, the government is directing significant resources into disadvantaged local communities. One of the methods of intervention used by a battery of government-backed programmes is community development.
It is against this background that Margaret Ledwith has written a critical, and at times, personal approach to community development. She sees community development as a valuable strategy in addressing inequality from the “bottom-up”.
This is a different tack to that of New Labour that requires community development to be outcome-oriented rather than needs-led. Ledwith’s book is the latest excellent contribution to an established literature in the UK that values the liberating aspects of community development. This is a valuable read for all students and practitioners of community development.
Keith Popple is professor of social work at London South Bank University