In her new book, Community Development in Action: Putting Freire into Practice, Margaret Ledwith continues her quest to provide the theories and tools needed to create a socially and ecologically just world. Ledwith builds upon her prior community development work and offers us a palatable synthesis centred on the work of Paulo Freire’s ‘Critical Pedagogy’. More than just a book, this manual lays out processes that can assist teachers, students, community organizers, and concerned citizens in understanding their own positional ties and localities in relation to larger social, political, and economic forces—thus providing us with a guide for building solidarity and fostering positive social change in our communities. Ledwith largely achieves these goals by engaging with Freire and other activist-scholars, and weaving rich stories of action and theory that show how communities and individuals can deconstruct the hidden, taken for granted, common-sense views of everyday life that reinforce unequal power relations.
The book has foreword by Nita Freire and opens with a glossary of important terms that help establish the language and thinking used to construct this narrative tool-kit. This helps all readers, regardless of their backgrounds and experience, become grounded in the common tongue of critical theory, emancipation, and collective theorizing for action. The book progresses logically, with the first chapter introducing the principles and a brief history of community development. This is followed by an in-depth review and synthesis of Freire’s ‘Critical Pedagogy’, the lived experience that helped him develop his radical approach to education, and a discussion of how community development is a form of Critical Pedagogy. Once these foundations are laid, in Chapter 3 Ledwith illustrates a variety of tools, concepts, and processes that aid the reader in ‘Kick starting Freire in everyday practice’.
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