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How ‘Power With’ Systems Thinking Can Provide Communities a ‘Kind’ System of Dynamic Governance

Kim Scott

Community Development


Year of study:

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In Community Development, how do we work with ‘power with’ in a kind way?

This question is being asked after countless years of austerity, rising appropriation budgets, and the ever-expanding job requirements for ‘community workers’ employed across the ever-increasing chasm of poverty. With those taking up posts working from a plethora of systems guided by hidden constructs as ‘governmentality’ (Foucault) ‘hegemony’ (Gramsci) and ‘professionalisation’. Questioning where and what is social justice and our known (and what are our lived?) human rights.

Considering the cycles of oppression (Freire) which brings a deeper sub question of ‘power’: who in Community Development are we actually working for? As ‘we the people’ are defined by labels of ‘inability’, ‘products’, ‘in crisis’, ‘wealthy’, all being ‘costed by’ and requiring services.

This will be a conceptual piece viewed through a critical theory, pragmatist lens. Working from seminal pieces, key terminology and ideas identified through theorists such as Fromm, Freire, Foucault, Steiner, Dewey, Bourdieu, Ledwith, Tett, Comte, Endenberg, to start with.

This critically reflective piece will establish a foundation stone of evidence, showing that any transformation is only possible when we stop tinkering with a corrupt and broken system which continues to corrupt and break all, co-opt all.

And how a fair, egalitarian society and world is possible and already happening.

With this, work continues across the world, and in many disciplines, with people/projects/businesses/organisations using these less heard of methodologies.

Thus establishing in every moment a-new, a greater understanding for what is possible when all voices are heard, we use our greatest power - our imagination, and where conscientization, dynamic governance and ethical principles are part of the fundamental changes humanity has been working towards.


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