Readings Week 1 – Introduction; Unpacking “community” and “power”
1. Origins of community development are linked with colonialism – it differs from
community organization (theory and practice) and community participation.
2. Community has many definitions – it is about place, interest, communion. When
viewed as a “network”, community is easier to map out. Community is formed or
edged in societal norms and habits – there is evidence of the following qualities:
1) trust 2) reciprocity 3) trust.
3. SOCIAL CAPITAL is powerful in fostering community in many settings
(organizational & individual): child development, public spaces, economic
Bonding social capital – within communities
Bridging social capital – outside of community boundaries
Linking social capital – to friends and allies of community
5. Social Capital is not the only factor in community development –
individualization & globalization must be given due recognition as well.
A bit short…Next time, use the full page.
A READING SUMMARIES
Readings Week 2 – Participation & power: framing the discussion
1. Power exists whether people are aware of, recognize, or deny it. This power can
be used for good or for bad and our action / inaction effects the transition or
continuance of this same power.
Powerfromwithin: individuals inherently hold power of their own (self)
Powerwith: people are able to come together through leadership & influence
Powerover: the consequence of domination & oppression (with obvious effects,
both physically & economically) ▯“material means”
3. Powerover is an issue of fear. It keeps the oppressed from uniting for change (for
fear of violent retaliation) & it is fear which instigates the oppressor to act out (ex.
Homophobia, Islamophobia, and so forth).
4. Even social work agencies (welfare) can be a form of powerover, oppressing
those with material needs by withholding resources until they meet certain
criteria… it is important to recognize this dialectic tension.
5. Arnstein’s “ladder of citizen participation” illustrates several community planning processes
with varying degrees of participation ▯ NONPARTICIPATION 1. Manipulation 2.
Therapy TOKENISM 3. Informing 4. Consultation 5. Placation CITIZEN CONTROL
6. Partnership 7. Delegation 8. Citizen Control.
You need to work on expressing yourself a bit more clearly B+ READING SUMMARIES
Readings Week 3 – Models of Community Development
6. Community Development: requires a reorganization of power dynamics – it
should strive to be a leveling tool or equalizer. Since the very beginning, this has
been stressed through an emphasis on education and bringing knowledge or
training to groups of people. Is education empowerment? It also began with a
legacy of colonialism instead of capacity building.
7. A dialectic tension exists in community development as the goal is to spark self
help and stability (building the capacity & strengths of the local community) but
this is often carried out through the backing/support of national governments with
their own agendas and set of initiatives or policies.
8. Community Organization: has roots in social group work but was first introduced
to North America through Lindeman’s writings. It is often seen as the
collaboration of joint initiatives or agencies. According to Ross, community
organization is essentially made up of: 1) goals or needs stemming from the
community itself; and 2) an agreed upon set of actions/steps and perspectives on
9. Community Action: was strongly supported by Alinsky. During his time, the civil
right’s movement really took off – illustrating how structural factors (economy,
etc.) were affecting the lives of everyday citizens. This is about both action &
inaction. Rothman later built off this concept and divided community organization
into 3 sections.
a. Locality Development – leadership skills & education are important;
centres around common interests
b. Social Action – “in your face”; changes the distribution of power
c. Social Planning – specific tasks and resource allocation; rational problem
solving (heavily relying on research)
10. Education sounds great; but when we intervene in other countries to “educate”
their people, what is the difference between this new education and our old
colonialism? For every $1 countries receive in aid, they spend much more in debt
repayment (i.e. 1998, developing world cost $13 repayment)… Why? Literacy
levels have increased but still create a minority of rural women (class, gender)
without these basic skills. Education does not stop the effects of war and
violence. It is not empowerment if we create a dependency on aid instead of
building education from within the country itself. Neocolonialism (referring to $
situation of former colonies potindependence) can be described through ▯
reliance on Western goods/services which hinder indigenous development; or
Western trade which increase our markets but deteriorate those of the Third World
(exploiting their resources, etc…). Education is colonial when the children who
benefit are not empowered to bring change to this education in regards to
language, etc. (in a sense, they are not given a voice to speak out against what is
given since they have no political or economic clout). Education can be an [Type text] [Type text] [Type text]
empowering tool, but only if it is not used to quiet a population from speaking out
according to community needs.
Good summary, but don’t interject your own opinions.. A READING SUMMARIES
Readings Week 4 – Case Study – Better Beginnings in Sudbury
11. The Better Beginnings for Better Futures project started in 1991 as a “prevention”
program. A Sudbury neighbourhood was selected as 1 of 11 chosen communities to
receive $250,000 per year for 5 years. This new project was carried out through the
local N’Swakamok Native Friendship Centre (which took a medicine wheel approach
– recognizing how all aspects of life are interconnected). With every step of the
decision making process, they asked specific questions as to the Social & Cultural,
Environmental, Economic, and Political outcomes. Better Beginnings proved to be
economic efficient, saving 938$ per child per year in doctor expenditures, grade
repetition, special education, arrests, welfare or disability assistance, etc. The research
results were very, but they continued to fight funding.
12. The project began by developing a solid vision statement. This followed by the
creation of language/cultural sensitive caucuses and the election of a council (2 elected
members from each of the 4 caucuses + 2 elected at large + 2 staff representatives).
Cochairs were elected by all members and the council worked through consensus.
Community members were contacted through a “snowball approach” and a
community mapping methodology was used. At the heart of the project, were the real
needs as portrayed by the community member themselves (ex. they didn’t want the
space turned into a hockey rink as city officials planned).
13. Citizens of Sudbury have also had to fight for shelter. During the 1980s, many
locals were employed by INCO (which closed its doors for a time due to the low price
of nickel). Unemployed, many people lost their homes. The homeless population sky
rocketed (including entire families experiencing homelessness) while the foreclosed
homes were left unoccupied. People began to realize it could happen to anyone
(recognized the myth: “if you work hard, you can make it happen”). There was simply
no opportunity. Eventually, the community decided to occupy one of the empty houses
– 23 women moved in with their children (in effect, living as illegal squatters). The
court decided to press charges, and the families were displaced elsewhere.
14. Campaign organization rarely gets at the “systematic relationship of power”. By
using proper channels to become a credible threat – communities are able to negotiate
with those who hold power. Granted, many barriers remain (bureaucratic delays exist)
– there will always be attempts to evade responsibility. 2 important questions to
answer are: who is “we” (and who are our allies) & what do we want to change
(choosing a specific goal). Don Keating, in his book The Power to Make it Happen
writes that community organizing should “involve the greatest number of people
affected”. Powermapping and strategic planning are crucial. It is also important to be
realistic about strengths – recognize and use them but don’t exaggerate or make threats
you cannot carryout.
15. Shifting power is an “escalating dance”. There are many tactics used and similar
patterns can be expected in terms of power balance and transition. When a power
structure seriously responds to community action, an excuse may include that though [Type text] [Type text] [Type text]
they “agree”, there simply aren’t enough resources to help. However, a practical
response to this is that these power structures can/should then come alongside the
community in finding the resources to make their goals happen. A diversity of tactics
is the tool to get you there (ex. boycotts, blockades + occupations). Each has their pros
and cons, but disciplined nonviolent direct action is our responsibility!
Good job! A READING SUMMARIES
Readings Week 5 – Organizing Case Study: Land Struggles
16. The Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST) is a highly influential
grassroots social movement taking place in Brazil for decades. Its success has been in
centering on issues of land tenure, assisting over 300, 000 families in successful land
claims and currently seeking to increase this by another 90,000. Even after receiving
land, members of MST continue to support the movement and membership has now
exceeded 1.5 million.
17. Working against the status quo, MST is made up of radically democratic politics,
environmentalism (ecological responsibility is “an essential strategy” p.37), and
entrepreneurship. This allows members in reinvent their economic reality while
building sustainable grassroots solutions. The structure of MST relies heavily on the
literacy and education of its members – they value knowledge, which strengthens their
goals regarding activism. This has spurred the creation of an organic agriculture
school, a university, and numerous small businesses or coops. Collective bodies are
appointed to oversee recruitment, training, and finances. Policies are truly dictated by
the people as all decisions are debated at every level of organizing. However, life is
not easy despite group efforts. Their sustainability relies completely on voluntarism –
everyone does their share.
18. People join MST because there is massive inequality in regards to land tenure. In
the words of one member, “I’ve always worked; and worked hard… And what do I
have to show for it? Nothing.” (p.25)The elite hold ownership and though a divided
land plot could support more than 100 families, the rural families who work the land
are allowed no farming of their own. For members of MST, the choice is poverty or
change. As the government has been apathetic to agrarian reform, MST began to
mobilize and occupy certain land settlements to pressure the INCRA (the government
institute responsible for agrarian reform).
19. Land reform is an international crisis. La Vie Campesina is “a serious counter
argument to… neoliberal doctrine” (p.37) which supports the concerns of marginalize
voices in the fights against “agribusiness”. Obvious examples of international need
include: the Philippines, Thailand, Pakistan, South Africa (where white farmers own
85 % of land compared to majority black – the lasting results of apartheid),
Guatemala, and especially Honduras. There is no question why these citizens would
avail themselves to cheap labour, working for multinational cooperations when they
are no able to farm their own land! It is essential to note that despite the evident
injustice of land reform (or lack thereof), international bodies are slow to implement
change because “fair land ownership” remains a controversial ideal.
20. As with many movements, there is always a fine balance between the movement
itself and the government or state. The balance of power in these situations is crucial.
For example, MST’s political connections to the Workers Party were tried once the
party was elected and sought to hire MST leaders into government positions. They
chose not to take that route – they foresaw the ability of that connection to undermine READING SUMMARIES
the purpose and structure of MST. By working in an apathetic government, activism
could cause more conflict than change… and change is what the members (the
individuals and families who make up MST and all it stands for) are truly seeking.
Dwyer: Part 1, Brazil Landless Peoples Movement (pages 15-46)
Great job! A READING SUMMARIES
Readings Week 6 – Canada’s role in disorganizing communities: Extraction conflicts and
community development. Case study.
21. Who: 50 people representing 11 countries: Peru, Guyana, Suriname, Mexico,
Colombia, Ghana, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, the Philippines, the United States
What: met for “On the Ground Research” – a workshop to identify the needs of
communities affected by largescale Canadian mining interests
When: April 2000
Where: The workshop took place in Ottawa, Ontario.
Why: to ensure “a better future for their families and communities, locally and
How: Through the “financial, moral and resource support of the Canadian government
and the governments of the affected communities”, NGOs, and others concerned with
environmental/social/economic/human rights issues…
22. COMMON PROBLEMS presented through member’s experiences:
▯ Change in their way of life – people are often relocated. They lose their livelihood
and culture (traditional fishing, hunting, connection to the land, etc. are not respected).
Poverty has led to other issues like prostitution.
▯ Division in the Community – people will have different perspectives based on their
education (or lack of it). Some will benefit briefly, but only those who work for the
▯ Threats to Environment and Health – areas affected by mining have shown a huge
increase in diseases like cancer. As well, the land is destroyed through pollution of
water, destruction of habitat and ecosystems, etc.
▯ Economic Results – companies do not provide all the jobs they promise. Sometimes
men receive compensation, but women do not. Over 80% of profits do not return to
the local community/country.
▯ Violence and Loss of Life – it has been as obvious as the beheading of a miner or
various assassinations. Communities fear violence from paramilitary, corrupt
government, and other “security forces”.
▯ Government Action and Inaction – at times, communities experience intimidation
from State. Governments also change laws to be more open towards multinational
companies with little or no regulation. Nepotism also comes into play, favoring the
elite (as rural areas are less populated, they also have less voice).
23. The benefits of community development in relationship to mining companies
include: an enhanced reputation, improved access to resources, smoother process in
terms of approvals and dispute resolution, reduced closure costs and liabilities,
efficiency and productivity of local support services, an educated and local workforce,
and improved employee recruitment.
24. It is important to clearly define roles and responsibilities of (a) companies – to
respect human rights and support community development / sustainable community
capacities and resources; (b) governments – to protect human rights and ensure local [Type text] [Type text] [Type text]
community benefits from business, implement project regulations; (c) community
groups – to address quality of life, to take ownership of local goals and stay committed
to creating community sustainability; and (d) NGOs/CBOs – to advocate on behalf of
communities and deliver services/projects.
25. You need to identify that this is from the second reading, from a mining industry
association….The idea of creating sustainable community development means to
increase the strength and effectiveness of a community by enabling them to participate
in decision making which allows them to take longterm control over their own lives
(at the same time, improving their quality of life). This approach should be taken from
the very beginning of a project. Tips include: adopting a strategic approach, ensuring
consultation and participation, working in partnership, strengthening capacity, and
measuring/communicating throughout the entire project. It is also important to
consider the marginalized among the larger community (i.e. Indigenous people
generally suffer the most from these multinational endeavors – especially women and
children who receive no compensation for the invasion of their land and livelihoods.)
B+ READING SUMMARIES
Readings Week 7 – Case Study – Organizing for Food Sovereignty
26. FOOD SOVEREIGNTY is based on 6 pillars:
i.) Focuses on food for people – right to food as more than a commodity
ii.) Values food providers – supporting sustainable livelihoods
iii.) Localizes food systems – in decisionmaking & independency
iv.) Puts control locally – no privatization of “natural resources”; recognizes
v.) Builds knowledge & skills continued learning & passing on of knowledge;
technology is useful only in its positive impact on food systems (no
vi.) Works with nature – protects natural ecosystem functions
27. There is a lack of participation (or recognition of the part each citizen plays) in
the greater food system and f