By Paul Henderson
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Extra info for Community Development and Civil Society: Making connections in the European context
Power-holders are challenged very directly, based on careful calculations of what can be gained from any situation. Community Organising concentrates on a single issue at any one time. Confrontation tactics, however, are not the only way for community development to challenge civil society. Targeted lobbying or being active members of partnership boards can be equally effective. The latter, however, can bring a strong grassroots perspective to an issue. The following example of campaigning against an extremist political party illustrates how community development can provide a key strand of the work.
The region has had the progressive elements typical of the development of modern communities. One could find many good examples to illustrate community movements and organised interventions. However, because of a lack of a comprehensive democratic social system, the movements and interventions have exerted less political influence – on social policy, legislation and sponsorship practices – than in the older democracies. Modern solutions appeared more as an exception or as experiments, not as widely applied practice.
The project is making a modest contribution to the community. In the second example, there is evidence of community development being strongly linked with the local economy and it is seeking to make a significant impact on economic and social development. It is ambitious. Part of the problem when discussing community development is uncertainty about its scope. On what scale is it operating? Is it essentially about voluntary involvement or does it depend on there being professional intervention?