The Policics of Community Development


    Fred Powell and Martin Geoghegan. Published in Ireland
    by A & A Farmar,

    ISBN 1899047778, Û20

    Star Rating: 4/5

    The question addressed by this book is whether community
    development is about reclaiming civil society, or whether it is a
    means of reinventing the way we are ruled by the state, writes
    Keith Popple.

    This is not a new question for the community development field
    as it has always had an ambivalent relationship with the state.
    Community development needs state resources, but partnership with
    the state is not welcome if local people will be short-changed. But
    now the stakes are much higher as the spread of neo-liberalism and
    globalisation appears to be ignoring local communities.

    Drawing on their work in Ireland, the authors claim that
    state-led development has all but ceased in the West, and
    market-led developments are in the ascendancy.

    But they also find evidence of community-led schemes that have a
    part to play in liberating communities and helping to build a form
    of globalisation from below. This is a hopeful message in the age
    of the mega-corporate driven economies.

    The authors finish by drawing us back to the ultimate conundrum:
    how far does community development have to travel with state-funded
    community initiatives without completely compromising itself? An
    excellent publication.

    Keith Popple is professor of social work at London South
    Bank University.

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