The Community Development Process III: Wider Considerations

  • Alan Twelvetrees
Part of the Practical Social Work book series (PSWS)


Sociological analysis has emphasised divisions of class, and more recently, of gender and race. There are, however, many more subtle differences between groups of people which can also be significant, and a community worker needs to understand them. For instance Jamaicans might prefer not to mix with Barbadians. And on most council estates there is a ‘rough-respectable’ split (see Lupton and Mitchell, 1954). As regards who participates in what, such differences are at least as important as other class differences. If the first people who are recruited or who select themselves for a particular community activity are from one ‘sub group’, the ‘roughs’ for instance, the ‘respectables’ will not come and vice versa. Whatever activity is started it will quickly attract a label or image which, in effect, prevents other people from participating. In addition, people think of their ‘home area’ as very local, encompassing only a few streets and, perhaps for that reason, it is common for meetings of community groups to be attended only by people who live less than a quarter of a mile from the meeting place, and several of them will already know each other. All these factors inhibit wider attendance at meetings and tend to increase the cliquishness of a group.


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Copyright information

© British Association of Social Workers 1991

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  • Alan Twelvetrees

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