Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton 2021

23 Building communities

Shiv Ganesh, Mohan Dutta and Ngā Hau


Power relations are impossible to suspend in community building; consequently, such efforts are always dialectical, tension-laden and ongoing. In this chapter we outline a set of four communicative tensions that help animate and position community organizing as praxis, each of which implicates power relations differently. These are: local versus global domains, reformatory versus revolutionary change, persuasive versus coercive means, and immanent versus external loci of control. We expand on these tensions before turning our attention to community building as philosophy and praxis. Our effort here is to highlight the work of the culture-centered approach to change in yoking together theory, method and efforts at social change and community-building. We do so by highlighting two efforts at community building, each of which foregrounds the four tensions articulated earlier, in different ways. The first case describes anti-poverty organizing in Singapore, and the second illustrates indigenous resistance in Aotearoa New Zealand. In concluding we discuss the implications of community building as praxis.

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston