Community Learning and Development is a field that aims to “help communities and individuals tackle real issues in their lives through community based action and community based learning” (Scottish Executive, 2004:4). As CLD workers, it is imperative that we understand the issues that have faced people in the past, the issues that affect people in society today, and are aware of any potential issues in the future for individuals and groups. In order to underpin some of the knowledge required to support communities, it is crucial to have a wide range of theoretical knowledge to support the practical element of the profession. Throughout this essay, I am going to be discussing and critically analysing the socio-political perspectives of Community Learning and Development with reference to contemporary and historic theorists, as well as critically analysing the way in CLD workers work with, and deliver learning opportunities to individuals, including some of the theories behind the models. Finally, I am also going to explain and critically analyse the relationship between critical consciousness and critical action within Community Learning and Development. Key priorities for Community Learning and Development are set at a national level, local level and within organisations, to give focus and enable workers to deliver a great service to communities. This does not mean that CLD has no issues to tackle day to day, as one of the main roles is to support individuals and groups that may be going through some kind of difficulty. “Community problems can be treated back to patterns of systematic material poverty and disadvantage, social exclusion and instutionlised oppression that, taken together, are manifestations of structural inequalities and social divisions within society as a whole.” (Butcher, cited in Banks et al, 2007:68). Community Learning and Development was developed following the issues suggested by a number of different theorists. Karl Marx developed a theory that in society, the rich seem are controlling the middle and lower class, whilst the rich are just getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Tony Benn, former MP, also highlights the gap between the rich and poor. “We don’t really have a democracy. The gap between rich and poor is widening than when I came into parliament.” (Benn, cited in New Internationalist, 2010). These upper classes are called the bourgeoisie and the lower class are called the proletarian. The bourgeoisie plays a heroic role by revolutionizing industry and modernizing society. “However, it also seeks to monopolize the benefits of this modernization by exploiting the property less proletariat and thereby creating revolutionary tensions. The end result, according to Marx, will be a final revolution in which the property of the bourgeoisie is expropriated and class conflict, exploitation, and the state are abolished.” (Encyclopædia Britannica Online, 2013). Karl Marx also suggested that there would be an uprising and the poor would be at an equal standing in society to the ruling class, also known as the redistribution of wealth. “Means that all members of society will have the right and the actual opportunity to develop their talents and abilities to the utmost and to use their talents to produce goods and services for the benefit of society.” (PoliticsAffairs, 2011). This could involve a practitioner working with individuals and groups with one of the CLD value bases Self-Determination – by empowering them to influence the issues that are affecting them in their community. (CLD Standards Council, 2009).
Gramsci agreed with the ideas put forward by Marx; however he decided to take it a step further, and divide power into public services, for example, police and the government, and the non-coercive institutions such as churches, clubs and political parties. (Holub, 1992) rather than just focus on all services as a whole in society. Individuals experiencing these issues in society...
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