Paradoxes of community-building: Community control in the global economy

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This article is about the potential and limits of community control and development (community-building) in the developed world, but most of the references are to the USA. There is a paradox in the contemporary political economy. As the level of the social, political and economic relationships at which communities and cities are embedded has become increasingly globalised - and thereby remote from people in cities and communities - there has been a substantial turn towards the community level as the domain and level at which social, political and economic problems should be solved. The article explores this paradox, beginning with a detailed explanation of contemporary political economy - the increasing economic globalisation existing side by side with political devolution at the community level. This is followed by a discussion of the growth of community-based organisations in the USA, their activities and their histories. From there, the article shifts gears to critique the theories of community that guide most mainstream practices. The article ends with a discussion of alternative forms of community organising and development that lead towards greater community control in the context of capital mobility and economic globalisation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-234
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Social Science Journal
Issue number192
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)

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