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Communities for Social Change: Practicing Equality and Social Justice in Youth and Community Work
Annette Coburn and Sinéad Gormally
Peter Lang / Softcover / Aug 2017
9781433129766 (ISBN-10: 1433129760)
Education / Anthropology
price: $68.70 (may be subject to change)
178 pages
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Communities for Social Change: Practicing Equality and Social Justice in Youth and Community Work examines core ideas of social justice and equality that underpin community and youth work. It informs understanding of a range of community concepts and practices that are used to identify practical skills and characteristics that can help to promote equality by challenging injustice. Working with people in different types of community can bring the kind of social change that makes a real and lasting difference. Although justice is a contested notion, Annette Coburn and Sinéad Gormally assert that it is closely interlinked with human rights and equality. A critical examination of contemporary literature draws on educational, sociological, and psychological perspectives, to set community practices within a context for learning that is conversational, critical and informal. Social justice is about identifying and seeking to address structural disadvantage, discrimination, and inequality. The authors assert that by refocusing on process, participation, and collective rights, it is possible to create and sustain social justice. Transformative research paradigms help to produce findings that inspire and underpin political social action, and an analysis of practice-based examples supports the promotion of increased critical consciousness. This makes Communities for Social Change a must-read for anyone studying or teaching community youth work or who is working in communities or with individuals who experience oppression or inequality. If you are committed to teaching and learning about theory and practice that promotes social change for equality and social justice, you will not be disappointed!


“Annette Coburn and Sinéad Gormally have produced a closely argued and well-illustrated text that shows a sound understanding of relevant theory and a sensitive appreciation of the situations of young people, communities and those who work with them. I recommend as a key text for policy makers, practitioners and those who research community and youth development.” Ian Finlay, University of Oxford

“This book is very timely. It offers a critique of youth and community work informed by neo-liberal values and articulates an alternative vision based upon social justice. The contextual discussion relates mostly to the United Kingdom, but many ideas are transferable and hopefully this will prompt local adaptation in other contexts.” Trudi Cooper, Edith Cowan University

“This is a timely and very useful book for anyone who is interested in young people's lives and issues of inequality and social justice. The book somewhat unusually blends theoretical insights with valuable discussion of innovative approaches to practice. It will be essential reading for anyone interested in challenging accepted ways of thinking about and working with young people.” Tracy Shildrick, University of Leeds

About the Authors:

Dr. Annette Coburn is a lecturer in community education at the University of the West of Scotland.

Dr. Sinéad Gormally is a senior lecturer in community development and adult education at the University of Glasgow. Working collaboratively, Annette and Sinéad’s teaching interests are framed by commitment to social and democratic purposes that promote equality and enhance understanding of what makes a good life possible. Their research interests are varied and focused on creating praxis between theoretical and practical underpinnings of community and youth work in striving for a more socially just society.

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