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Title: Community development as discourse : analysing discourses, identities and social practices in the US and the UK
Author: Emejulu, Akwugo
ISNI:       0000 0004 2738 8228
Awarding Body: University of Strathclyde
Current Institution: University of Strathclyde
Date of Award: 2010
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The aim of this thesis is to reconceptualise community development as a discourse and understand how various discursive repertoires influence the available identities for practitioners and community groups taking part in community development activities. Community development is rarely thought of as a discourse and it is from this gap in knowledge that my research is positioned. Throughout this thesis, I analyse how community development discourses are formed, structured and operationalised and I investigate whether the dominant discourses of community development live up to their ‘radical’ claims by exploring the identity constructions of practitioners and local people. In order to analyse the discourses of community development, I operationalised a post-structuralist discourse analysis methodology as developed by Hansen (2006). Post-structuralist discourse analysis is concerned with understanding the construction and reproduction of identity within a particular discourse through the analysis of texts. Using Hansen’s methodology and method, I selected and analysed 121 American and British community development texts dating from 1968 to 1997. As a result of my discourse analysis of texts, I argue that there is a serious problem embedded in the discourse of community development. Community development, despite its dominant presentation of itself as unproblematic and essentially ‘radical’, constructs suspect identities for professionals and local people. Throughout this research, I make one original contribution to knowledge. I demonstrate that community development, since at least 1968 in both the US and the UK, reproduces identities that invest the community development professional with agency and construct local people as a passive and often incorrigible Other. This binary persists whether a community development discourse defines itself as either ‘radical’ or ‘conservative’. This research finding calls into question dominant contemporary portrayals of community development. Rather than being a self-evident good, community development, more often than not, subjects local people to patronising and unequal identities that reinforce rather than undermine negative stereotypes about the political nous of marginalised groups
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available