[COMM-ORG] query: Community organizing vs. Community Development

Discussion list for COMM-ORG colist at comm-org.wisc.edu
Sat Aug 21 10:33:53 CDT 2010

  [ed:  thanks to John for continuing the discussion.  This also reminds 
me of Dave Beckwith's COMM-ORG paper at 
http://comm-org.wisc.edu/papers97/beckwith.htm ]

From: John Atlas <jatlas4 at comcast.net>

I agree that Randy's stuff is great. I also agree with Rob that part of 
the answer must come from actual experiences by groups. Unforunately 
there is very little useful, honest reporting from  the left, center or 
right about this topic. To write the book about ACORN, I virtually  
embedded  in Acorn for 5 years, with unfettered access to its members, 
organizers, development staff, all their board and staff meetings emails 
etc, so the chapters I refer to are based on intense reporting, warts 
and all. I show what one group actually did  and kept the analysis to a 

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and analysis, but we should 
base it on the facts.

john atlas

On 8/18/2010 4:50 PM, Discussion list for COMM-ORG wrote:
> --------
> This is a COMM-ORG 'colist' message.
> All replies to this message come to COMM-ORG only.
> --------
>  [ed:  thanks to Herb, Chris, Doug, Rob, and John  for replying to 
> Luke's query.  And apologies especially to Doug and Herb for only 
> thinking of my own stuff, as I've used each of the works they refer 
> to.  :-(  ]
> From: Herbert Rubin <tigertheboo at gmail.com>
> whole theme of Rubin and Rubin, 4th edition Community Organizing and 
> Development is on both the differences and integration between the 
> two.  Randy's articles incidentally are informative
> herb r
> ***************************
> From: Chris Cavanagh <story at web.ca>
> if you're not already familiar with Margaret Ledwith's work, i highly 
> recommend getting in touch with her.
> Margaret.Ledwith at cumbria.ac.uk
> *******************************
> From: Doug Hess <dougrhess at gmail.com>
> Building on previous topologies of local initiatives, I make a
> comparison of values, outlook, and methods of community organizing,
> community developing, and community building in my MA thesis which was
> posted as a comm-org paper in 1999:
> http://comm-org.wisc.edu/papers99/hesscontents.htm
> Posting it on Comm-Org led to getting several citations out of it (one
> in German that I cannot read) and several readers of it have emailed
> saying they got a lot of the comparison of these methods. So, there's
> some free advertising for people posting working papers on Comm-Org! :
> ) Sadly, I've never revisited it to rework it into something
> publishable, but please take a look. I'd be interested in hearing (as
> many on the list might) more about what is going on in the UK on this
> front.
> -Doug
> ****************************
> From: Rob_O'Hannon at dhhs.state.nh.us
> You've brought up a topic that has been debated for years, and I'm not 
> sure
> there is one academic source that will provide the answer. Besides, I 
> think
> the answer need to come from the ground and not from academia.
> Our agency has decided that the interchangeable use of Community
> Mobilization, Community Organizing and Community Development was too
> confusing for our partners, so we took the issue in hand and came up with
> the following, which is related to regional network development. Briefly,
> here's how we conceptualize things:
>                               The Engagement Continuum:
>                               Elements of Community Action
> (Embedded image moved to file: pic30989.jpg)
> (Embedded image moved to file: pic04264.jpg)    (Embedded image moved to
> file: pic32703.jpg)
>       (Embedded image moved to file: pic25200.jpg)
> Community Mobilizing involves gathering people together to identify
> problems and what  actions can be taken (usually in the form of
> activities.)
> Community Organizing involves honing the focus of the effort through
> partnerships and the development of a plan.
> Community Development involves developing the infrastructure necessary to
> measure the effects of work done,  identify and implements adaptations
> needed, and to sustain the effort.
> Although presented here in a linear way the three processes interact. A
> community can be at any level at the start, and realize the need for
> actions at other levels to enhance the work.
> Rob O'Hannon, MS
> Community Development Specialist
> NH Comprehensive Synar Coordinator
> Resources and Development Unit
> Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services
> Division of Community Based Care Services
> Phone:603-271-4726
> Fax: 603-271-6105
> Work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a 
> chance
> to succeed.
> Vaclav Havel
> ****************************
> From: John Atlas <jatlas4 at comcast.net>
> > Dr Luke Bretherton,
> In my  new book SEEDS OF CHANGE.The Story of Acorn, America's Most 
> Controversial Anti-Poverty Community Group.
> [ Amazon.com    
> http://www.amazon.com/Seeds-Change-Controversial-Antipoverty-Organizing/dp/0826517064 
> and Vanderbilt University Press 
> http://www.vanderbiltuniversitypress.com/books/387/seeds-of-change] 
> chapters 6,7, 9.13,14 and 15 address the issues and differences 
> between community organizing and development. Acorn was one of the few 
> groups in the US that attempted both.
> "A must read...The reader gains an understanding not only of ACORN's 
> success in the fight for social justice, but also why its efforts to 
> empower ordinary people  are viewed with alarm and have come under 
> attack by conservative and reactionary forces." --William Julius 
> Wilson, Author, Harvard University
> "There is more value on a single page of Seeds of Change than in a 
> year's worth of Rush Limbaugh screeds combined with a lifetime of 
> Sarah Palin sneers at community organizers."---Todd Gitlin, professor, 
> author of best selling "The Sixties"
> "Atlas  deploys his journalistic skills beautifully in this powerful 
> portrait of people working to realize a vision of social 
> prosperity."   ----Sudhir Venkatesh, author of Gang Leader for a Day
> "John Atlas combines scholarship, political insight, and powerful 
> narrative writing in this essential book." --Robert Kuttner, author 
> and founder of The American Prospect
> "Atlas has now written the definitive work on ACORN." --Samuel G. 
> Freedman, Columbia Journalism School, author of Letters to a Young 
> Journalist
> "...an exceptionally important book--a vivid, honest, and gripping 
> look at the front lines, warts and controversies and all." --Harry C. 
> Boyte, author, founder and co-director, Center for Democracy and 
> Citizenship
> "Atlas writes that ACORN 'reflects the American tradition of helping 
> the poor help themselves' --- in this case, through confrontational 
> demands for political change through a group whose best-known 
> activities --- voter registration and tax advice --- are relatively 
> minor parts of a sprawling, loosely organized operation." Ben Smith, 
> Politico
> "Atlas masterfully tells the story of the rise and current state of 
> one of the most effective, most widely challenged, and now beleaguered 
> advocacy organizations for the poor." Gregory Squires, Huffington Post
> Website: http://www.seedsofchangeacorn.com/
> Atlas blogs at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-atlas/
> http://blog.nj.com/njv_john_atlas/index.html
> National Housing Institute/Shelterforce Magazine
> President/Founder
> Contributing Editor
> Nhi.org
> 74 Clinton Ave.
> Montclair,NJ 07042
> 973 746-6239
> On 8/17/2010 11:51 AM, Discussion list for COMM-ORG wrote:
>> --------
>> This is a COMM-ORG 'colist' message.
>> All replies to this message come to COMM-ORG only.
>> --------
>>   [ed:  please feel welcomed to copy COMM-ORG with replies to Luke's 
>> reply.  A bit from me below.]
>> From: "Bretherton, Luke" <luke.bretherton at kcl.ac.uk>
>> Dear all,
>> There is a potentially very interesting (although not unproblematic)
>> constructive engagement by the new Conservative-Liberal government 
>> here in
>> the UK with community organizing. They are keen to support it without
>> co-opting it.  As part of a broader panel, I have been asked to help the
>> relevant civil servants and politicians work through some of the issues
>> related to this.
>> A big issue that has come up for them is the difference between 
>> community
>> development and community organizing.  I have some ideas on this and 
>> know a
>> bit of the early history, but I really need some academic articles or 
>> books
>> that systematically compare and contrast the two approaches and 
>> wondered if
>> anyone on the list could suggest any?
>> Any help would be much appreciated.
>> Yours, luke
>> _________________________________
>> Dr Luke Bretherton
>> Senior Lecturer in Theology & Politics
>> Convener, Faith & Public Policy Forum
>> School of Social Science & Public Policy
>> King's College London
>> Franklins Wilkins Building
>> Waterloo Road
>> London SE1 9NH
>> Tel. +44 (0)20 7848 3243
>> Website: www.kcl.ac.uk/schools/sspp/education/staff/lbretherton.html
>> For information on the Faith & Public Policy Forum:
>> www.kcl.ac.uk/schools/sspp/education/research/faith.html
>> ****************************************
>> [ed:  I have done some writing about this.  Here is a quick list:  
>> Stoecker, Randy.  2003. "Understanding the Development-Organizing 
>> Dialectic." Journal of Urban Affairs, 25: 493-512.  Stoecker, Randy. 
>> 1997. "The Community Development Corporation Model of Urban 
>> Redevelopment: A Critique and an Alternative." /Journal of Urban 
>> Affairs/ 19:1-23.  Also (with some overlap): 
>> http://comm-org.wisc.edu/drafts/orgdevppr2c.htm , 
>> http://comm-org.wisc.edu/drafts/socialcapitalprepub.htm , 
>> http://comm-org.wisc.edu/drafts/twopathsb2.htm.]
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