Community Work


Course description:

Thepurposeofthiscourseistofamiliarizestudentswiththe theoreticalapproaches, principles, models, researchmethods, meansandareasofpracticeofcommunitywork in Greece and abroad.

In particular, it introduces students to definitions of community work and provides them with an overview of its origin and development: different theoretical perspectives, aims and practices that have been developed since after war period, as well as a number of ideologies, development policies of international organisations and national states that, along with the particular socioeconomic context of every period, influenced community work. The aim is to enable them to identify the limits, strengths and weaknesses of different approaches of community work to current social problems.

It also evolves a careful examination of models which constitutes contemporary community work practice (community care, community organization, community development, community action, community planning, community education) enabling students to grasp the theories and values of community work underpinning them. The main research methods and practices (e.g. action research, needs assessment, case study, etc.) that community workers use in order to organise, implement and evaluate their interventions are also examined.

Particular emphasis is given on currentdebatesregardingtheuseofcommunityworkmethodsandtechniquesin a number of national and EUpoliciesandprogramsthatpromotecommunityparticipation, empowerment and development. Related problems as well as opportunities for alternative course of action are explored. The aim is to enable students to identify different approaches to empowerment and participation and to raise their awareness and understanding of issues related to collective action of marginalisedand deprived communities and groups.


  • Definitionsandapproaches to community.
  • Overview of the originanddevelopmentofcommunitywork.
  • Definitions of community work, values and practice principles.
  • Theoretical approaches, aims and means of practice.
  • Models of community work.
  • Skills for planning and implementing an intervention.
  • Empowerment – Participation.
  • Research methods.
  • Evaluation of community work practice.


On successful completion of this course students will:

  • Have developed a historical perspective of the origin and growth of community work.
  • Gain an understanding of the key approaches to community work and the theories and ideologies, which inform them.
  • Be able to critically assess the strengths and weaknesses of the different models of community work vis – a-vis their theoretical and ideological underpinnings.
  • Have learnt some of the key skills of community work, which are imperative for successful professional practice.
  • Demonstrate awareness and understanding of the key issues in community work (e.g. poverty, oppression, gender, housing, health, sexuality, disability, race, class and collective action) and how to address them through community work practice.
  • Be able to evaluate community work practice.


  • Written examination
  • Class attendance (although not obligatory) along with activeparticipationofstudent will also be appreciated.


Craig, G. 1998. “Community Development in a Global Context”, Community Development Journal, 33(1): 2 – 17.

Craig, G. and Mayo, M. 1995. “Rediscovery Community Development: Some Prerequisites for Working “In and Against the State”, Community Development Journal, 30(2): 105 – 109.

Dominelli, L. 1995. “Women in the Community: Feminist Principles and Organizing in Community Work”, Community Development Journal, 30(2): 133 – 143.

Dutt, K. L. 2004. “’I Plan, You Participate’: A Southern View of Community Participation in Urban Australia”, Community Development Journal, 39(1): 13 – 27.

Freire, P. 1977. Cultural action for freedom, Athens: Kastaniotis Publications (in Greek).

Freire, P. 1974. Pedagogy of the oppressed, Athens: Repas (in Greek).

Gilchrist, A. 2007, (2004).The well – connected community.A networking approach to community development.Bristol, The Policy Press.

Gough, I. 2004. “Human Well – Being and Social Structures: Relating the Universal and the Local”, Global Social Policy, 4(3): 289 – 311.

Harrison, L., Hoggett, P. and Jeffers, S. 1995. “Race, Ethnicity and Community Development”, Community Development Journal, 30(2): 144 – 157.

Jacobs, S. and Popple, K.(eds). 1994. Community Work in the 1990s. Nottingham: Spokesman

Karagkounis, V. 2008. Community work and local development.Athens: Topos (in Greek).

Ledwith, M., 2006, [1997], Community Development.A critical approach, Bristol, The Policy Press.

Mayo, M., 2005, Global Citizens. Social Movements &The Challenge of Globalization, London, Zed Books.

Mayo, M., 2000, Cultures, Communities, Identities, Cultural Strategies for Participation and Empowerment, Palgrave.

Popple, K., 2000, [1995], Analysing Community Work.Its Theory and Practice, Maidenhead – Philadelphia, Open University Press.