“I believe in building people up”: A call for attention to asset‐based community development in geographical framings of poverty in the global North

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This paper calls for human geographers examining poverty in the global North to attend more to asset-based community development (ABCD) poverty interventions in order to complement geographers’ current foci on how people experience and respond to poverty. ABCD is a community movement that originated in the USA which emphasises principles of focussing on gifts and assets rather than deficits, and on relationships at the neighbourhood level. In doing so, ABCD starts from what is ‘strong’ rather than ‘wrong’ in order to work towards community transformation. This paper’s focus on ABCD emerges from an ethnography with a community following ABCD on an estate in Birmingham, UK. The housing estate in which the ethnography was conducted is an area of relatively high UK deprivation. However, the ethnography drew out how through ABCD intertwined with a Christian ethos, local volunteers and community workers endeavoured to reframe the questions being asked of and by the community in order to focus on people’s gifts, foster neighbour to neighbour support, and shun stigma. In conclusion, the paper argues that giving more attention to ABCD poverty interventions will complement human geographers’ existing attention to poverty in the global North by broadening our foci including to question whether ABCD interventions could be used more widely to combat both the existence and experience of poverty. However, this comes with a warning; in giving more attention to assets we must be careful to avoid romanticising poverty, and so this must be alongside existing geographical attention to austerity and welfare provision.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-434
Number of pages9
JournalArea
Volume55
Issue number3
Early online date27 Apr 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution
License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided
the original work is properly cited. CC BY

Funder

Economic and Social Research Council. Grant Number: ES/R006555/1

Keywords

  • asset- based community development
  • COVID- 19 pandemic
  • ethnography
  • gifts
  • poverty

Institute themes

  • Faith and Peaceful Relations

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of '“I believe in building people up”: A call for attention to asset‐based community development in geographical framings of poverty in the global North'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this