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Researching the local politics and practices of radical Community Development Projects in 1970s Britain

Banks, Sarah; Carpenter, Mick

Researching the local politics and practices of radical Community Development Projects in 1970s Britain Thumbnail


Mick Carpenter


This article introduces a themed section of the Community Development Journal that re-evaluates the British Community Development Project (CDP) of the 1970s, with particular reference to three local ‘radical’ CDPs. It sets the national Community Development Project in context, as an experimental programme of action-research in twelve ‘deprived’ areas, set up in response to the rediscovery of poverty in the late 1960s. It explains the rationale for revisiting the CDPs from the vantage point of the second decade of the twenty-first century, when the structural problems of neoliberal capitalism (especially deindustrialization and globalization), identified as emergent by the CDP teams in the 1970s, continue to impact on disadvantaged neighbourhoods in negative ways. While some commentators have criticized CDPs for focussing more on political analyses than community development practice, this article argues that the long-standing significance of CDPs lies in the way their issue-focussed research informed their radical practice in local neighbourhoods. The article introduces three following papers in the themed section, which illustrate this through case studies of local CDPs in Coventry, Newcastle and North Tyneside, largely based on research conducted during 2014–2016 as part of an Economic and Social Research Council-funded project, Imagine – connecting communities through research.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 24, 2017
Online Publication Date Mar 22, 2017
Publication Date Mar 22, 2017
Deposit Date Feb 24, 2017
Publicly Available Date Mar 23, 2017
Journal Community Development Journal
Print ISSN 0010-3802
Electronic ISSN 1468-2656
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 52
Issue 2
Pages 226-246
Public URL


Published Journal Article (Advance online version) (170 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
Advance online version © Oxford University Press and Community Development Journal. 2017 This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution
License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution,
and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited

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