Essay on Critical Comparison of Theories and Approaches of Community Organizing

Essay on Critical Comparison of Theories and Approaches of Community Organizing

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In this essay I shall make a critical comparison of different theories and approaches of community organising. By focusing on main aspects of Paulo Freire and Saul Alinsky’s models of community organising I shall discuss how applicable these models are in the UK. By drawing examples from experiences of applying Root Solution Listening Matters (RSLM) and Participatory Action Research (PAR) frameworks in my practice. I shall demonstrate relationships and differences between the two. By addressing key elements of theories of power and conflict I shall highlight the main characteristics of both and use these theories as lenses to view some problems in the communities. By comparing models of community enterprise I shall reflect on future opportunities of a budding community enterprise. Finally by outlining the methods of evaluation I shall reflect on my chosen framework for evaluation of my work.

I have applied a qualitative methodology for this essay to provide a literature review and given examples, where relevant, drawn from my practical experiences of working with communities in Bordesley Green (BG), Birmingham and in overseas.


Paulo Freire, and Saul Alinsky’s approaches:
Paulo Freire, and Saul Alinsky are a few of the pioneers of global grassroots collective movement, which is at the heart of community organising. Their theories are based upon organising communities from the below, who are most deprived, socially isolated and segregated and disempowered due to social, economic and political systems. The essence of Freire’s epic book titled “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” (1972) is about challenging the state imposed bureaucratic top down “banking education system” that incre...

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...veloping Social Firms in the UK: a contribution to identifying good practice. Disability & Society, Vol. 18, No. 5, August 2003. 659-674
Shah Anup, (2013) Structural Adjustment: A major cause of poverty. Philosophy and Theory, Vol.43, No.S1, 2011, USA.
Sepulveda, Leandro (2010) Stephen Syrett, and Sara Calvo, Social enterprise and ethnic minorities, TSRC Working Paper 48.
Strathern, M. (1996) Cutting the Network, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 2, pp.517 -535, Oxford

Thomson, Pat (2005), Who’s Afraid of Saul Alinsky? Radical traditions in community organising, FORUM, vol. 47, Numbers 2 & 3, 199-206.

U Tube Video:

VeneKlasen, Lisa and Valerie Miller (2002), Power and Empowerment, PLA Notes, 43: 39-41.

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