Free Essay: Community Development, Theoretical Perspectives

Published: 2023-07-11
Free Essay: Community Development, Theoretical Perspectives
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Project management Community Development Public relations
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1787 words
15 min read

Community development projects are started to strengthen various communities through collective action aimed at solving common problems affecting the community. Multiple ways are utilized to develop communities. Some projects are intended to improve the cultural and social performance of a particular community, and others are aimed to enhance the safety of a particular community (Allan and Jones 2019). The financing of the projects can motivate the community's villages and cities for future development and growth. The paper summarizes the project I am in charge of and describes the characteristics of the community the project is aimed to assist. Also, the paper examines one strategy used for the project, then explains one theoretical approach that is selected for the project. Lastly, a personal reflection of the proposed project is presented toward the end of the project.

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Community Development Project

The project under consideration is a homelessness prevention project which is concerned with efforts to prevent homelessness in the community, which is characterized by low income, where most of them are families with no-income. The goal of the project is to receive assistance from the government and gain access to other funding to help the families in the community with no-income and those who have low-income from becoming homeless. I am interested in the project because it will assist the vulnerable group in the community, which the project be aimed which is the poor, who need financial assistance to be able to live and meet their daily needs.

The Interactional Perspective Strategy on Community Development

The theory focuses on community interaction through working together as a team to mobilize resources as they address relevant development activities that affect them positively in their place of residents. The theory mainly examines the process of community development, which is fueled by self-interests of the community members, interaction, local divides, and transcends division, all of them being central to the theory (Jeffrey, Mark, and Luloff 2015). The theory as a strategy gives particular useful conceptualization of community development that assists in understanding the local social change in a better way. The interactional theory came into existence after it was realized that other theories of community development that were mostly used in the 20th century focused on predictability and order, which forms the structure of the community, and they do not reflect the life that is seen in communities. The theory was developed to suit the changes that occurred in the community after the 1950s when a focus was shifted to the forces that alter the life of different communities through various projects.

Strengths of the Strategy

In the current project, I have chosen the interactional perspective approach and not the other two because this approach does not judge the community development by the objective measures of success. Instead, the theory addresses it as a local effort that attempts to achieve a specific goal, and it considers development in a community to be a process and not the result of interaction; it revolves around the process rather than the structure of a community like the other theories. Hence, the project will be taken as a process where local effort is put in place to raise the living standards of the community members, and it occurs through actions that have a real purpose, as stated by the theory. More so, the theory is utilized as a logical basis for in the description of responses of a community to various host conditions like financial problems the community experience. The approach has become the leading theory in work that links diverse communities with disaster mitigation, natural resource management, and economic development; thus, it is the best theory to be applied in the project. The theory has been applied to several substantive issues, conditions, problems, and projects of community development, and it has been proved to generate consistent results in national and international settings by assisting those in charge of community projects to understand better the social change and community processes that impact the projects.

The interactive approach is unique through its emphasis on how the community emerges as it does not take the community as given. Instead, it makes it a social system that is created and recreated via social interaction. The interaction provides direction to the collective action's processes by acting as a source of collective identity, which is defined by the current project under consideration, which is bringing the community together to develop them through the assistance of its members in getting the basic needs and improving their living standards. The approach through community field identifies that in a community development project, single interest is not pursued; instead, the project is started to create channels of communication and linkages among the interests and actions of the community members with other agencies who will be able to assist them. The project, as illustrated by the approach through the existence of an interaction between the stakeholders involved, grants the community members the power to change and transform their community at large through the creation of local relationships for the locals who have joined their hands together to act.

Weaknesses and Challenges of the Interactional Theory

Although the theory has presented significant insights into the community development by exploring the emergence of collective actions and community, there are many challenges and weaknesses of the theory. The weakness of the theory is that it has not explored more areas in community development. The continuing impacts that technology has on the community, specifically on the role of the community power, the community's changing territorial dimensions and the forces behind effective leadership in community development remain unexplored by the theory. Another weakness is that the interactional theory has not established the transdisciplinary frameworks that are utilized in studying the relationships community and natural resources, which is ever-expanding.

The theory is affected by the challenge that arises from changing territorial dimensions and technology. In the current setting, more concern has been raised on the development of technology and its growth in use, increased migration patterns together with the expansion of geographic boundaries because such factors have impacted the potential demise of the community. During the early work of the advocators of the interactional theory, the outlined factors were virtually nonexistent, especially technologies. The emerging factors that continually increases in a number affect the patterns of the interactional theory as some interaction via cellular phones, social networking, internet, text messaging, and email has broadened the channels that community members interact with each other, and it has blurred the distinction of both local and extra-local interaction.

Moreover, the challenge of the theory is to intellectualize and empirically investigate the relationship that exists between the emergence of community and communication technology. The challenge is to establish a better knowledge of the way the emerging communication technologies can be utilized to enhance the community's collaboration to solve regional problems and address concerns. The social networks that have broadened beyond the localities, which are coupled with geographical ranges that expand rapidly for meeting the community's daily needs, have posed a challenge to the interactional theory to understand how community members can join together through development projects in collective action. The ability of individuals in the community to come together for collective action like projects has become more problematic because of difficulty in defining locality and increased challenge in conceptualizing connections among the community members. The environment of the community in the present is different from the past, making the relationship between society and place to be more contingent. In general, the whole issue surrounds diversity, which has created challenges for community development. It has curtailed social interaction and has been a barrier to community emergence a sometimes; it has caused social inequality that has a direct impact on the quality and extent of social interaction in the local community and has reduced the effort of the community to take coordinated action.

How the Challenges and Weaknesses are Addressed

The weaknesses of the theory are addressed through the future development of the theory by ensuring that the parts that were not explored are incorporated in theory in the future. In using the strategy in the project, the unexplored areas should be taken into consideration. The challenges that have been brought by technological advancement and expansion in geographic territories are addressed through detailed understanding and recognition of the changes that the emergence of such factors has brought to the community and how it has affected the social interaction. When it is fully understood, it will be possible to address them by adjusting the project's goals and purpose by incorporating the changes.

Silencing of Radical Democracy Theoretical Approach

The theoretical approach chosen for the project is the silencing of a radical democratic approach. In summary, the approach explains the changes that have occurred in community development since 1968 in the United States (Robinson and Green 2010). The approach holds that community development has been constituted by unequal and hierarchical practices and ideas instead of radical democracy. The unequal ideas presented today in the community development projects construct local individuals as passive objects and devote the professional theme with the agency. From the theory, there is the silencing of the radical democratic ideas and practices since 1968 in community projects. As a result, the projects have been characterized by problematic practices and ideas which undermine the goals of community development in achieving social justice and equality for communities that are marginalized.

Strengths of the Approach

I have selected this theory or approach to community development over the others because the theory illustrates how community development has changed from radical democracy to struggle for identity through power and poverty discourses. The strength of the theory is its ability to disclose the transformation of history in the community development from the past developments characterized by freedom, democracy, and equality and its potential to show the importance of democratic discourse that advocated for the genuine support of marginalized people who are in need. The democracy discourse promoted by the theory holds that the individuals involved in the community development have the skills, knowledge, and capacity to make various decisions and, at the same time taking actions that might affect their daily lives. More so, the strength of the approach is also on the way it presents participatory democracy, which is characterized by social relationships that are of high quality within the collective.

The strength of the approach is on the democratic discourse which can adapt to several contexts as the discourse internal logic orders that the ordinary individuals or the community members should define for themselves their struggle terms and the discourse relies majorly on the oral traditions through deliberation and dialogue which the approach considers being a building of solidarity among the community.

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