Definition and exploration

Newsletter c/o Vanguard

Definitions and exploration of Community Development

This past year the Community Development Society members engaged in several deep and thoughtful conversations. A primary theme for discussion was that of the society adopting a working definition of community development.

This conversation was prompted during the 2016 joint Community Development Society/International Association for Community Development (IACD) meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota, when IACD adopted the following definition:

“Community development is a practice-based profession and an academic discipline that promotes participative democracy, sustainable development, rights, economic opportunity, equality and social justice, through the organisation, education and empowerment of people within their communities, whether these be of locality, identity or interest, in urban and rural settings.”

This professional movement begs the questions:

“What does it mean to define a field?”

“What could this mean for members of the Community Development Society?”.

It can be argued that Community Development, as both a profession and academic discipline, is growing rapidly. However, many scholars in the field contend that rapid growth within a non-defined profession can lead to professional confusion both internally and externally. It is from this perspective one could reason the profession is at a pivotal developmental stage and is ripe for a collective definition.

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