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The current UK coalition government has invested 14 million in a national programme of Community Organisers between 2011 and 2 - Essay Example

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The current UK coalition government has invested ?14 million in a national programme of Community Organisers between 2011 and 2015. Critically discuss community organising as a practice and an area of policy for communities within England The present essay will explore the concept of “community organising” focusing specifically on community organising in the United Kingdom…
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The current UK coalition government has invested 14 million in a national programme of Community Organisers between 2011 and 2
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Download file to see previous pages Finally, differences between community organising in the United States (USA) and the United Kingdom (U.K.) will be explored, as will the sustainability of community organising beyond the present Government. Definitions of “Community Organising” Although the term “community organising” seems fairly self-explanatory, there are multiple definitions, each with its own implications. Paul Bunyan (2013) describes multiple components of “community organising,” emphasizing: power of the collective masses, processes as opposed to conflicts, and the transcending of minor conflicts to allow people to unite and collectively engage. Bunyan (2013) places particular emphasis on power. He notes that power can be construed as the basis for community organising in three main ways: power within existing religious institutions/community organizations can be utilized to navigate important issues, power in terms of the us/them distinction can be harvested via group solidarity, and power through the aforementioned processes may be used to consolidate community relations and thus, contribute to political change. In David Cameron’s (2010) “Big Society” speech, he construes “community organising” in a similar way – increased social responsibility, the channeling of power away from central government to communities, and community cohesion. He suggests that communities, with advisement, funding, and mentoring, should “run” their own public services, for example, public parks, libraries, and post offices, according to their specific needs and values. American Saul Alinsky, whose name is almost synonymous with “community organising,” defines the concept by dividing people into the “haves and have nots,” and by noting distinctions between the public and private spheres. He illustrates the importance of having the community understand the connection between community issues and broader societal issues (for example, his Hot Lunch program). Thus, he emphasized the importance of greater representation for communities in the public sphere (Horwitt, 2010). Origins of Community Organising Community organising as a practice is thought to have originated with Saul Alinsky, and his mobilization and empowerment of many ordinary working Americans, to shape the course of their own communities and participate in decisions pertaining to them (Horwitt, 2010) Alinsky founded the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council (BYNC) in the 1940s, which was successful in uniting diverse groups living in the same Chicago stockyard locality, along the lines of common interests. The BYNC was successful in creating self-help services, for example, credit unions, in participating communities by negotiating with and strengthening links to the wider society. In this way, Alinsky aimed to combat despair in these areas by increasing participation and a sense of belonging (Horwitt, 2010). In England, the Citizens UK organization is an example of Alinsky’s philosophy. Notably, Brazilian educator Paulo Freire who used informal education to teach Brazilian peasants to read – not only literature, but also the social situation, is often cited as a community-organising theorist. Rather than taking Alinksy’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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