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Neoliberalism, deliberation and dissent: critical reflections on the ‘community activation’ turn in Ireland’s community development programme

Gaynor, Niamh orcid logoORCID: 0000-0001-5645-7032 (2019) Neoliberalism, deliberation and dissent: critical reflections on the ‘community activation’ turn in Ireland’s community development programme. Community Development Journal . ISSN 0010-3802

In this article I aim to add to the literature on the impact of neoliberalism on community development by focusing on two recent seemingly unrelated developments in Ireland. The first is the reframing of ‘community development’ as ‘community activation’ in Ireland’s latest community development programme. I suggest that this ‘community activation’ turn marks a new departure in the social and political embedding of neoliberalism in community development and in Irish society more broadly in that its reframing of both the identity of ‘the poor’ and of the nature of supports that they require individualises responsibility and action. This, I argue, not only fragments and atomises communities, it also risks foreclosing any substantive discussion and deliberation of structural issues, thereby posing a threat to democracy. The second development is the concomitant emergence of a new, more critically engaged form of community activism in the form of the so-called ‘water movement’. The actions and aspirations of the women we interviewed within this movement highlight their role in revitalising and re-energising communities, animating public debate and redirecting power back into communities. Activation clearly comes in many forms and, under the shadow of neoliberal reforms, results in many different outcomes. How or if the formal community sector chooses to respond to this diversity and what impacts this will have will prove critical to local communities as well as providing important avenues for future research.
Item Type:Article (Published)
Subjects:Business > Economic policy
Social Sciences > Political science
DCU Faculties and Centres:DCU Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Science > School of Law and Government
Publisher:Oxford University Press (OUP)
Official URL:http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cdj/bsz019
Copyright Information:© 2019 Oxford University Press (OUP)
Use License:This item is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License. View License
Funders:This article draws, in part, from research funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (Ref: ES/L012898/1) for a project entitled Collaborative Governance under Austerity: An Eight-case Comparative Study.
ID Code:23928
Deposited On:15 Nov 2019 12:22 by Niamh Gaynor . Last Modified 06 Aug 2021 03:30

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