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    Rocking the boat while staying in it: connecting ends and means in radical community work


    Ardle, Oonagh Mc (2020) Rocking the boat while staying in it: connecting ends and means in radical community work. Community Development Journal, 56 (4). pp. 714-733. ISSN 0010-3802

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    Abstract

    At a time when the term ‘radical’ is predominantly associated with intolerance and violence, this article explicitly interrogates its meaning and application in community development praxis. Based on a qualitative inquiry, influenced by community development principles, community workers with rich experience at both micro- and macro-levels in Ireland were interviewed individually, then collectively to elicit their perspectives on the possibilities and challenges for radical community work in Ireland. While specifically located, its conclusions have relevance for community work and community development globally. Findings show that being a professional and a radical are not incompatible. Some radical community workers recognize their dual role in service of the state and their obligation to work with others to change it. Acknowledging that marginalized communities do not have the access to power available to more privileged communities necessitates strategies to maximize influence. At the same time, there is an intimate connection between the methods used to transform society and the nature of the subsequent society. As workers accountable to communities, funders and the profession itself, the strategies engaged with and tactics adopted warrant careful consideration. This article seeks to challenge the dichotomy of either conflict or consensus approaches as overly simplistic. Its suggests that some community workers can hold a radical agenda and conflictual ideology while pro-actively engaging with decision-makers who, although part of systems, which perpetuate inequality, can also be agents of change.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: connecting; means; radical; community work;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Applied Social Studies
    Item ID: 16081
    Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1093/cdj/bsaa021
    Depositing User: Oonagh Mc Ardle
    Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2022 10:59
    Journal or Publication Title: Community Development Journal
    Refereed: Yes
    URI:

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