Leading Change - Community

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Spaces for Inclusive Communities:

Spaces for Inclusive Communities Dr Andrew Azzopardi Department of Youth and Community Studies

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CLICK - A TASTE of Malta

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The discourses around community are countless

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Being alive as human beings means that we are constantly engaged in the pursuit of enterprises of all kinds, from ensuring our physical survival to seeking the most lofty pleasures.

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Community is one of the most difficult, complex, and ambiguous words in our language. It is a contested concept, one that represents or gathers to it contradictory, mutually exclusive images, meanings sacred and profane by turn (Carey, 1997, p.1).

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In actual fact, communities incessantly negotiate identity and who and what belongs in a community remains a complex debate to entangle.

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Nowadays we can speak of symbolic boundaries of a community that relate to community identity and definition, power of community, culture(s) of community, and residents’ attachment to and identification with community.

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Within this state of affairs, many are concerned about the state of civil society some bordering on moral panic

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The way people lived in the ancient Greek times, was possibly the first hint at citizenship ( Hay, Lister & Marsh, 2006).

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Aristotle famously expressed: “To take no part in the running of the community's affairs is to be either a beast or a god!”

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Community development is initiated around voluntary organizations and local regeneration projects.

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Community activism has spread widely especially amongst minorities, emarginated and discriminated groups ( Ledwith 2005).

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The new logic is that ‘more developed communities and communities with more capacity are safer and healthier places to live in’.

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High-quality strategies call for the following; the value of social justice needs to be enmeshed within fundamental institutional reform, strategic policy, analytical capacity, political congruence and alignment, integrated decision-making, ecosystem management, political will and most definitely leadership in the community engagement agenda

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A society that is committed to the notions of community development is a community that sustains itself on citizen participation.

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