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Case studies from a variety of settings consider the asset-building approach to community development

Mobilizing Communities

Asset Building as a Community Development Strategy

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edited by Gary Paul Green and Ann Goetting

"Mobilizing Communities is a collection of interesting case studies that are rich in detail about the process of community development in places such as Guatemala, Alabama, and West Chicago. What these wide-ranging places have in common is using assets as the basis for sustainable development. There are relatively few books containing case studies in community development and, in particular that focus on assets, which makes this book unique, new, and valuable to community development academics and practitioners."—John Gruidl, Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs, Western Illinois University

As communities face new social and economic challenges as well as political changes, the responsibilities for social services, housing needs, and welfare programs are being placed at the local government level. But can community-based organizations address these concerns effectively? The editors and contributors to Mobilizing Communities explore how these organizations are responding to these challenges, and how asset-based development efforts can be successful.

Asset-based development, rather than needs assessment, has become a new paradigm in the community development field over the last fifteen years. Although the approach is widely used by practitioners and promoted by foundations, asset-based development has not been examined critically by researchers until now.

Mobilizing Communities provides a conceptual framework and practical guidance to community development practitioners. The editors solicited case studies from a variety of geographic settings, regions and racial/ethnic groups. The communities in the case studies mobilize residents around different forms of community capital (e.g., financial, cultural, and environmental capital). The contributors examine the role of public participation, the organizational and institutional structure, relationships with governmental officials, and the outcomes and impacts of the asset-based development projects.

Contributors include: Lionel J. Beaulieu, Emily Blejwas, Sarah Dewees, Michael L. Dougherty, Mark H. Harvey, John P. Kretzmann, Rocío Peralta, Rhonda Phillips, Deborah Puntenney, Stewart Sarkozy-Banoczy, Gordon Shockley, and the editors.

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Excerpt

Read Chapter 1 (pdf).

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Reviews

"Mobilizing Communities is an important book, and the role of assets and their re-organized ability to impact communities is a key topic in reinvigorating communities. The fact that the contributors are not only academics but individuals who also work in communities, makes this book both relevant and worthwhile. The contributors consider how communities integrate current assets into development, which has the potential to enhance a local communities development opportunities."
—John C. Allen, Associate Dean and Professor of Sociology, Utah State University

"Green and Goetting begin Mobilizing Communities with an excellent overview of the strategies employed by needs-based and asset-based community development [ABCD] efforts.... Because Green and Goetting provide a comprehensive overview of the ABCD practice at the beginning of the book, very little prior community development knowledge is required in order to digest the contributed chapters.... [T]he bulk of the book is written in a way that should make it accessible to most audiences. In sum, Green and Goetting’s Mobilizing Communities is a welcome addition to the community development literature."
Journal of Urban Affairs

"Green and Goetting’s edited volume Mobilizing Communities is an effort to explain more comprehensively how communities can productively respond to such massive challenges.... What Green and Goetting and their contributors find in all of these contexts is that real communities, when faced with real problems and that maintain real assets, do not distinguish between 'problem-first' and 'assets-first' strategies.... Green and Goetting thus conclude: 'Our only hope is to build stronger and more resilient communities that can challenge these powerful political and economic forces."
Perspectives on Politics

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Contents

1. Community Assets: Building the Capacity for Development – Gary Paul Green
2. Investing in the Double Bottom Line: Growing Financial Institutions in Native Communities – Sarah Dewees and Stewart Sarkozy- Banoczy
3. Asset- Based Community Development in Alabama’s Black Belt: Seven Strategies for Building a Diverse Community Movement – Emily Blejwas
4. The Politics of Protected Areas: Environmental Capital and Community Confl ict in Guatemala – Michael L. Dougherty and Rocío Peralta
5. Linking Cultural Capital Conceptions to Asset- Based Community Development – Rhonda Phillips and Gordon Shockley
6. Neighborhood Approaches to Asset Mobilization: Building Chicago’s West Side – John P. Kretzmann and Deborah Puntenney
7. Natural Amenities and Asset- Based Development in Rural Communities – Gary Paul Green
8. Implementing Community Development in the Mississippi Delta: The Effect of Organizations on Resident Participation – Mark H. Harvey and Lionel J. Beaulieu
9. Lessons Learned – Gary Paul Green
Contributors
Index

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About the Author(s)

Gary Paul Green is a Professor in the Department of Community and Environmental Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and author, most recently, of Workforce Development Networks in Rural Areas: Building the High Road.

Ann Goetting is a Professor of Sociology at Western Kentucky University. She is the author or editor of three previous books, including (with Sarah Fenstermaker), Individual Voices, Collective Visions: Fifty Years of Women in Sociology and (with Michael Mayerfeld Bell) The Strange Music of Social Life: A Dialogue on Dialogic Sociology (both Temple).

Subject Categories

Community Organizing and Social Movements
Sociology
Political Science and Public Policy

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