July, 2015

Abstract

Participatory practice in community development is process- and relationship-oriented. Yet many community development practitioners focus on technical problem solving, service delivery, or information provision. How might these practitioners respond to participatory practice? Using narrative analysis, this case study examines the response of 24 community development practitioners from government and education to a two week field workshop in participatory practice in two peri-urban communities outside Mexico City. Accustomed to technical or procedural practice and unfamiliar with participatory approaches, the 24 practitioners from government and education quickly faced the vulnerability and uncertainty of participatory practice. By the end of the workshop, however, most of the practitioners had changed their attitudes and assumptions about themselves, their work, and the community. Six month follow-up interviews evidence the continued integration of some of these changes into their own practice. The results indicate the importance of the engaged practitioner’s attitudes and assumptions in mediating state/civil society relationships.

Planning Forum  16:5-17

"The Naked Practitioner: Participatory Community Development in Peri-Urban Mexico,"   cover

Patricia Wilson

photo of Patricia Wilson