Why Community Development Values Matter

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


    Community Development strives to bring about positive social change, challenge oppression and marginalization and to work towards social justice. This paper discusses the challenges to community development practice in a neoliberal world and argues that embracing values-led practice is key to 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 can be successful 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 will ultimately impact at wider levels of society. This kind of impact requires a focus both in communities and beyond and needs to embrace global perspectives. However this is a challenging process and requires critical awareness, reflexivity and creativity; and acknowledging this challenge in itself is a crucial part of the process.

    The paper also suggests that the role of higher education in working with community development students is of import and calls for critical pedagogy as a central approach to teaching and learning.

    The paper, alongside Clare Radford’s paper, will be used to facilitate a seminar in order to discuss and debate key issues involved in maintaining community development values, 27 principles and integrity in a context driven by targets, monitoring, market-led outcomes and individualisation. Participants will be invited to reflect on their own perspectives and dialogue will be used to facilitate discussion of key issues:

    •How do we hold onto values-led practice in a neoliberal context?
    • How does the community development practitioner remain focussed on practice that has transformative social intent?
    • Does community development practice challenge the status quo in Scotland and beyond?
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015
    EventCommunity Development Journal 50th Anniversary Conference : Why Community Development? Continuity and Innovation - University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
    Duration: 1 Jul 20153 Jul 2015


    ConferenceCommunity Development Journal 50th Anniversary Conference
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    Internet address


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