This is a text for graduate and undergraduate social work students, as well as practitioners of community organization and social change practice in the United States. Three distinct social change approaches are represented: traditional, direct action, and transformative, with in-depth emphasis given to direct-action and transformative approaches. The book provides an assessment of social change practice and closes with a series of decision rules for students and practitioners who wish to match their organizing goals with strategies in a variety of geographic or culturally diverse settings. An overview of the principal training centres is provided for readers interested in organizing and training opportunities in almost any region of the country. The book emphasizes the advantages and disadvantages of each of the described strategies, presents opportunities for synthesis among approaches, and contains a critical assessment of the theory, concepts and skills required to undertake each of the approaches. Case illustrations and composite scenarios are used to make practical applications easy, and classroom and field exercises and assignments are suggested at the end of each chapter.
The information for the book was drawn from a cross-disciplinary literature review which covers selected historical, philosophical and political perspectives, as well as from 150 interviews with leading community organizers in 24 cities, and a two-year intensive field study of 15 community organizing and social change training organizations.