De-colonising sustainable community development: lessons from the UK Coalition government (2010-2015)

Andie Reynolds

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


The Coalition government’s five-year programme of public sector reform and austerity exploited the ambiguity of community development by reshaping its practices as social enterprise, volunteering and community organising. This led to a significant decline in the professional profile of community development in the UK. In response, the community development academic and practitioner field has focused on the sustainable development goals (SDGs) to revitalise community development in the UK. This regeneration emphasises community development’s commitment to sustainable development, environmental and social justice, and its exemplary track-record of engaging with local people through participatory and collaborative methods.

Whilst it is refreshing that UK community development now adopts sustainable development as a dominant paradigm, findings from my doctoral research suggest community development remains rooted within colonialist definitions and practices of development which could lead to unequal development and the disempowerment of local people. To offset such practices emerging under a sustainable development banner, this presentation exposes community development’s colonialist roots and calls for a post-Enlightenment and indigenous approach to sustainable community development which acknowledges and supersedes Western paradigms that have underpinned community development throughout the 20th and early 21st century.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 25 Aug 2018
Event4th USTINOV Annual Conference 2018: Citizenships to Achieve Sustainable Development: the Role of Critical Global and Environmental Citizenships - Durham University, Durham, United Kingdom
Duration: 24 Aug 201826 Aug 2018
Conference number: 4


Conference4th USTINOV Annual Conference 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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