SCPA 511-1 CED Project course - Part II

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May 15, 2009, June 12, 2009, July 17, 2009, Aug 14, 2009

CED Project Spring/Summer Term, 2009 (3 credits)

Instructor: Eric Shragge (


This course is the second part of the Field Project course. The goal of this course is to provide an opportunity to analyze and reflect on your field project. It will also provide an opportunity to deepen our discussion of community economic development and community organizing.

Each class in this course is divided into two parts.

Part One:

The first part of each class will provide an opportunity to engage in reflective discussion, analysis, and debate on topics related to CED and community organizing with theory drawn from critical perspectives. The goal is to create an atmosphere in which difficult issues can be addressed. The topics selected raise core ideas and debates. These challenge convention notions of community and CED. Participants in the class have suggested some of the topics.

There are not many readings. It is expected that all of us will read all the readings assigned for each class. The readings are used as a starting point for discussion. There is no written assignment associated with the readings.

The readings listed below will be available as a course pack at the Concordia bookstore. In addition, there are some websites.

Class 1 (May): Big Picture: Capitalism and Revolutionary Traditions and Alternatives

The goal of this class is to examine the two major left traditions of fundamental social change-anarchism and Marxism and how they may come into a synthesis. The reading below explores that debate. This constitutes a framework to discuss where we are in the current context and how working in the community fits into this.

Staughton Lynd and Andrej Grubacic (2008) Wobblies & Zapatistas- Conversations on Anarchism, Marxism and Radical History, PM Press Oakland, Ca.

p. 3-20, 34-47, 57-62.

Some of you have raised the question of the nature of the economy and the current crisis. The following reading is an introduction that takes the reader to the transition into neo-liberalism. I have listed a web site that discusses the current crisis.

Simon Tormey (2004) Anti-capitalism- a beginners guide,

Chapter 1- The How and Whys of the Thing Called ‘Capitalism” Oneworld Publications, Oxford p. 9-37

The Financial Crisis: A Socialist Perspective

Understanding the Financial Crisis: Critical Approaches and Alternative Policies

From Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-

The question raised in the following readings is:

Is it possible to build alternatives to capitalism at the local level- to create an alternative to what exists? What are the approaches and traditions?

Jim Silver et. al (2006) In their Own Voices-Building Urban Aboriginal Communities, Fernwood Books, Halifax

Chapter 5- Jim Silver, Parvin Ghorayshi, Joan Hay, Darlene Klyne Sharing Community and Decolonization-Urban Aboriginal Community Development p. 133-173.

Patrick Kerans and John Kearney (2006) Turning the World Right-Side Up Science, Community and Democracy, Fernwood Books, Halifax

Chapter 11 Talking to Your Neighbour 121-134, Chapter 16 A New Politics Community and Governance 195-207

James DeFilippis (2004) Unmaking Goliath, Routledge, New York and London

Chapter 1- Understanding Capital Mobility and the “new Urban Politics,” and Local Autonomy p.17- 35

Chapter 6 Conclusions p.141-151

Class 2 (June): Debating the Grassroots- ACORN versus The Christian Coalition- What Lessons

Guest lecturer-Bob Fisher teaches urban studies and social work at University f Connecticut in Hartford. He has written extensively on all aspects of community organizing. He has recently finished editing a book on ACORN and is writing on lessons for organizing from the Right. We have been working throughout the year on the assumption that the community is a place of progressive social change but need to also understand how the right has used organizing techniques and approaches to gain power and promote their own agenda. On the progressive side ACORN is one of the more successful grassroots community organizing initiatives. What are the similarities and differences, what lessons can we learn?

Readings for this will follow but the following are about the organizations:

Class 3 (July) Learning and Contesting Knowledge in Community Organizations:

In this class we will discuss knowledge and learning in community. The goals are to examine whose knowledge constitutes knowledge about community, drawing an analysis based on Linda Tuhiwai Smith and then looking at processes of learning that come from working in the community. The argument is that the longer term personal and collective change that is derived from participation in community is derived from the lessons learned and their legacy.


Grif Foley (1999): Learning in Social Action: A Contribution to Understanding Informal Education, Zed Chapter 4 “The Neighbourhood House: Site of Struggle, Site of Learning” pp.47-65.

Linda Tuhiwai Smith (1999) Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples. Zed, Chapter 3: “Colonizing Knowledges”, pp. 58-77.

Kathryn Church, Nina Bascia, Eric Shragge (editors) Learning Through Community- Exploring Participatory Practices, Springer Press, 2008

Kathryn Church, Eric Shragge, Jean-Marc Fontan and Roxana Ng Chapter 6 While No One is Watching: Learning in Social Action Among People Who are Excluded from the Labour Market, p.97-116.

Class 4 (August)

Presentations and Wrap-Up

Part Two of Each Class

The following are the objectives for the second part of each class:

  • To provide a forum for discussion of your field projects. It will provide an opportunity to share and exchange your experiences with others in the class.
  • To be a place for critical reflection and analysis of practice.
  • To provide an opportunity for the integration of theory, models, readings and practice.
  • To prepare a workshop and a paper on one area of practice that can be used to inform and provide an approach to practice on this issue for other practitioners.

The class discussion will be structured around your final paper. In each class we will develop aspects of the assignment and use small groups to develop the final assignment.

In the second part of each class there will be small group meetings with your ‘affinity group’ that you were in during Frances’ class first term. In these small group meetings you will continue to discuss your field projects and their development. However, there will also be a specific goal of preparing a workshop and an accompanying document on one of the major challenges in your field projects you have selected to explore in your group. Each class will contribute to the preparation of this final assignment. The following topics can be used as a guide to help in the preparation of the final assignment.

Discussion Groups

Each member of the group presents a summary of her/his field project and identifies the biggest practice challenge or barrier she/he faced in the project and why it was a challenge. These challenges/barriers should be listed and discussed; then the group should select the one on which the final assignment will be based. The issues can be broad such as the relation of local practice to processes of social change or more specific such as recruitment and participation in an organization. At the end of the first class, there will be a report back on which issue the group chose and why. Include in your discussion the wider societal factors that contribute to this challenge.

For the second class in June, group members will find literature either from this or other courses or from web sites etc. that provide practice approaches to either deepen an analysis of the practice question or that provide practice principles or strategies to work with the question that you have chosen. In the discussion, you should begin to find ways to integrate the literature with the practice problem, and create a short bibliography that can accompany the final assignment. At the end of the day there will be a short report back to the group on the progress of your meeting.

For the third class, you will decide how you will present what you have learned to the rest of the class in August and how you will do it. Be creative but make sure that the lessons you have learned are clear and do not get lost in the presentation. Handouts can accompany the presentation.

The fourth class is the presentation. Include time for responses and questions.

The class presentation is worth 20% of your final grade.

Written Assignments

Assignment 1

Date Due- July 17,2009

30% of the Final Grade

The goal of this assignment is to briefly summarize your field project. The assignment should be no longer than 5 pages double-spaced.

Please answer the following questions:

In what organization did you do your filed project?

What were the objectives that you set for yourself when you started?

What did you achieve?

If this was different from what you set out to do, what reasons explain the difference?

Were there any readings, theories or other information that helped you?

What were the main lessons that you learned from the project (this should be the longest part)?

Other comments.

Final Paper (Group Assignment)

Option 1

The paper consists of a discussion and analysis of the issue you have selected, why you have selected it and how it is expressed in at least one of your field projects. Include a summary of the literature as well as a bibliography. Describe and explain the choice of your methodology of presenting your lessons to the class and your evaluation of the experience.

Option 2

Using your class presentation, prepare a practice manual on the issue you have chosen.

The length of the paper should be 10-15 pages.

The paper is worth 50% of the final grade.