Community Capacity Building: Critical Evaluation of the Third Sector Approach
Review of Policy Research, Volume 21, Number 5 (2004), pp. 729-739
13 Pages Posted: 26 Dec 2015
Date Written: 2004
Throughout the advanced economies, public policy has become ever more deeply involved in developing the capacities of communities to help themselves. Until now, this has been pursued through facilitating the development of community-based groups. The aim of this paper, however, is to critically evaluate the implications and legitimacy of this public policy approach that views developing community-based groups and community capacity building as synonymous. Drawing upon empirical evidence from the United Kingdom, it is here revealed that this third sector approach of developing community-based groups privileges a culture of community involvement that relatively few engage in and is more characteristic of affluent populations, while disregarding informal acts of one-to-one engagement that are both a more popular form of community involvement and also more characteristic of the participatory culture of less affluent populations. The paper concludes by exploring how public policy might respond, especially with regard to the finding that less affluent populations have relatively informal cultures of engagement.
Keywords: Informal sector, household work practices, livelihoods, economic development, England
JEL Classification: H26, J46, J48, K34, K42, O17
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation