Ledwith and Springett's innovative approach bridges the divide between ideas and practice and allows the development of the knowledge that is needed to bring about transformative social change. Their ideas are founded on two premises: firstly, that transformative practice begins in the everyday stories that people tell about their lives and that practical theory generated from these narratives is the best way to inform both policy and practice. Secondly, that participatory practice is a tool for examining this knowledge that allows practitioners to examine the way they view the world and to situate their local practice within bigger social issues. The book will be of interest to both academics and community-based practitioners.
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Margaret Ledwith, Youth and Community Development, School of Applied Social Science, University of Cumbria and Jane Springett, School of Applied Social and Community Studies, Liverpool John Moores UniversityReview:
Participatory research and popular education are key means to uncovering 'knowledge as if people mattered'. This superb book enriches our understanding of these areas, building on them to create an inclusive - and enticing - world view. Dr Alex Scott-Samuel, University of Liverpool
This book presents a sustained challenge to governments and international organisations, such as the World Bank, which claim to be signed up to people's participation. Community-based action should be about transformative change, as the book's subtitle suggests, and this deeply thoughtful book shows why and how it can be achieved. It is a very welcome addition to the impressive canon being developed by the authors. Professor Gary Craig, Ambassador and Past President, International Association for Community Development
I am delighted to see this book which envisions participatory practice as a 'practical utopia', a transformative way of seeing the world combined with practical approaches to change through emancipatory action research in community, with implications for health and well-being. In seeking to integrate the practical with the visionary, the authors are offering us a way of seeing our lives as community developers, health promoters, citizens and professionals as expressions of fundamental values such as freedom, equality, respect and reciprocity Professor Peter Reason, Centre for Action Research in Professional Practice, University of Bath
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