1st Edition

Social Justice and the Politics of Community

By Christine Everingham Copyright 2003
    156 Pages
    by Routledge

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    This title was first published in 2003. Social welfare is the focus of much discussion and there is a broad spectrum of political opinion that agrees on the need for urgent reform. The literature informing these policy debates draws on a diversity of theoretical traditions and discourses concerned with remaking community, yet there has been no in-depth, coherent political analysis of these various positions. This captivating volume provides such an analysis, enabling the diverse discourses informing current social policy debates to be identified and understood in broader perspective. The book frames the debates within the context of globalization and the accompanying shift in focus of social policy from issues of social justice to questions of social order. It identifies 'the community' as both the site of today's social problems and the main tool that governments have at their disposal to address these problems. This portrayal of 'the community' is both theorized and illustrated with empirical material drawn from the Australian experience of community action.

    Contents: Part I: Challenging Narratives of Community Decline: Introduction; The politics of community; Redefining poverty as 'Social Exclusion': political responses to globalization; Creating 'The Battler': the politics of community and the psychology of populist politics. Part II: Community as a Terrain of Political Contestation: Introduction; A portrait of the Australian community: tracing the changing face of community through the political discourse of the Australian Labor Party; Transforming the welfare state: the community politics of the new left; Community as a critic of government: expanding the role of welfare communities; Government as a critic of community: corporatizing welfare communities. Part III: The Search for a New Social Consensus: Introduction; Rediscovering 'The Social' through the concept of social capital; Beyond social capital; Bibliography; Index.


    Christine Everingham is Conjoint Lecturer in the School of Social Science, University of Newcastle, Australia. She is the author of Motherhood and Modernity (1994). Prior to her academic career she spent ten years as a volunteer, working with health and welfare professionals on community development projects.

    ’Community is infused with a positive glow that often gets in the way of critical analysis, but not here. This is a clear-sighted examination of the politics of competing views of community and its decline which casts new light on the effects of promoting economic growth at the expense of more collective social goals. This is an important and rewarding book: a must for all concerned with social justice, the politics of social policy and the nature of community interaction.’ Emeritus Professor Lois Bryson, University of Newcastle, Australia ’This book is both challenging and informative and will be of particular interest to readers engaged in various discussions informing current trends in social welfare, social justice and social order. Everingham’s discussion of the way in which the term community has been used will alert the thoughtful reader whenever this word is encountered in the future.’ Journal of Occupational Science ’...an interesting and challenging book that will be of interest not only to sociologists but to all involved in the field of social development today. The author deals with important issues and raises questions of major concern.’ Social Development Issues ’...provides a thoughtful, accessible and timely investigation into the term, taking community well past simple rhetorical expressions.’ Centre for Citizenship and Human Rights Forum