Incorporating community development into social work practice within the neoliberal environment

Incorporating community development into social work practice within the neoliberal environment by Jenny Aimers and Peter Walker. Aotearoa Social Work, Issue 23(3), 2011

Community development is a core subject in social work education, yet social work discourse often places community development at its margins (Mendes, 2009). This article considers the location of community development and community work within the current neoliberal environment in New Zealand and how such practice can be sustained by social workers in the community and voluntary sector.

Community development is a way of working with communities that has a ‘bottom up’ approach as an alternative to State (top down) development. Over recent years, however, successive New Zealand governments have embraced neoliberal social policies that have marginalised community development. In addition the term ‘community work’ has been used to describe activities that have little to do with a bottom up approach thereby making it difficult to define both community development and community work. By applying a ‘knowledge intersections’ schema to two New Zealand community and voluntary organisations we identify where community development and social work intersect. From this basis we challenge social workers to consider ways in which community development can be embedded within their practice.

Full text available here http://anzasw.nz/wp-content/uploads/Issue-233-2011-Articles-Aimers-and-Walker.pdf

 

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