Community development and community renewal: tracing the workings of power
Although Third Way community programmes produce practice opportunities that appear familiar to community development workers, they also produce a play of power that is significant in the delivery of some crucial neoliberal shifts in governance and subject constitution. This paper juxtaposes current theorizing of how power works within advanced liberal polities with stories of local practice in urban and community renewal sites. The argument is that practice stories are often positioned in relation to a narrow spectrum of power relations, and this obscures the ways we are currently governed or exercise power in relation to ourselves and each other. A narrow gaze may point to successful outcomes of an immediate kind, yet contribute to wider agendas that more broadly undermine local people and processes. The question posed by the paper is not whether to engage in renewal activities, but rather how to interrogate the power dynamics of such engagements in the stories we tell of practice.
Community Development Journal