Smyth, John (2009) Critically engaged community capacity building and the ‘community organizing approach in disadvantaged schools. Critical Studies in Education, 50 (1). pp. 9-22. ISSN 1750-8487

This paper critiques the notion of community capacity building (CCB) and the way it is increasingly being invoked in social policy as a way of tackling disadvantage. The paper argues that CCB and a number if its derivative terms are not as straightforward as they appear. Superficially, CCB presents as a useful way of approaching school and community reform in contexts of disadvantage, but closer analysis reveals it to be pre‐disposed to deployment as a cover under which to blame schools and communities, while handing over responsibility. What is posited as an alternative is a ‘community organizing’ approach that is more political, activist, and attuned to providing forms of analysis and leadership skills with which communities and schools can begin to tackle some of the underlying conditions producing the debilitating inequities.

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