This article begins with a discussion of two of the ways in which we can study community development in Indonesia. One way is to begin with the concept of community development and its cognate terms and investigate how these might be used and understood, either in Anglicized versions or any linguistic equivalents in Indonesian development discourse. Another way is to elaborate principles and practices of community development and identify examples of these, regardless of whether such principles and practices are named as community development. We consider both these approaches. We comment on the context in which the western community development discourse has appeared. In regard to an understanding of community development beginning with its principles and practices, we suggest that notwithstanding the limited take-up of the discourse, the principles and practices of community development are clearly discernible in Indonesia. The second part of the article provides examples of how community development practice was evident in the grassroots responses to the devastating tsunami that hit Aceh at the end of 2004.
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