The silencing of radical democracy in American community development: the struggle of identities, discourses and practices

A. Emejulu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper attempts to understand how 1968 as a transformative historical moment has influenced the discourses and identity constructions of community development in the United States. Using a post-structuralist discursive analytical framework, the paper examines the nature and structure of community development discourses as reproduced in the language and social practices of the militant wing of the Southern Civil Rights Movement, the early Black Power movement, Alinskyism and the Johnson Administration's War on Poverty. Rather than community development being constituted by radical democracy, this paper argues that community development is dominated by hierarchical and unequal ideas and practices which invest the professional subject with agency and construct local people as passive objects. The paper explores how the radical democratic practices have been silenced from 1968 onwards and as a result how contemporary community development discourses may be reproducing highly problematic ideas and practices which undermine rather than support community development's goal of achieving equality and social justice for marginalized groups.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-244
Number of pages16
JournalCommunity Development Journal
Volume46
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2011

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The silencing of radical democracy in American community development: the struggle of identities, discourses and practices'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this