By Akwugo Emejulu
Read Online or Download Community Development as Micropolitics: Comparing Theories, Policies and Politics in America and Britain PDF
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Extra info for Community Development as Micropolitics: Comparing Theories, Policies and Politics in America and Britain
I will begin first with the Democracy discourse and its constitution of a militant identity. The rise and fall of the Democracy discourse Black people who were living in the South were constantly living with violence. The major job was getting people to understand that they had something within their power that they could use and it could only be used if they understood what was happening and how group action could counter violence even when it was perpetuated…by the state. (Baker 1972, 347) The Democracy discourse is constituted by the ideas, language and practices most closely associated with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and its conception of participatory democracy.
By constructing the poor in this way, the discourse is unable to reconcile its secondary construction of the poor as a responsible citizen. As I demonstrated in the Power discourse, by positioning the poor as passive, this enhances the role of the reformer and ensures the professional will always act on the incorrigible poor. Indeed this contradictory construction of the poor has real material consequences for discursive practices, as a New York City based community action project, Mobilisation for Youth, found when trying to promote participation in its decision-making structures.
Black Power and Alinskyism, however, share underlying patterns in language, social practices and identity constructions that continue to have important influences on community development identity and discourse today. What unites Black Power and Alinskyism, I argue, is the shift in language from democracy to zero-sum power plays and from idealism to real politick and with this shift in language comes a shift in identity: from a fluid and open community organiser identity to an exclusive ‘vanguard’ identity who dominates passive and misguided community groups.