On the Edge

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Community Development courses in UK Universities are on the periphery of institutions that are increasingly driven by business principles and adherent to the Higher Education ethos and market driven funding culture of the current Conservative government. This is a reflection of the world of austerity and cuts to public service budgets outside the University within which Community Development practitioners try to generate resilience and self reliance whilst being vulnerable themselves to closure of organisations and job losses with resultant insecurity. At the same time the profile of applicants to the Community Development course at this University has shifted and we are recruiting mostly women from working class communities local to the University, including strong representation of people who migrated to the UK as refugees and now have Indefinite Leave to remain in the UK. Market forces within and beyond the University result in vulnerability of the future of the course itself and even the staff of the course who have felt secure in their jobs for years move closer to becoming part of the insecure workforce along with the students and the staff of partner Third Sector organisations. To oversimplify, a course on the edge is recruiting people from communities on the edge to work in a sector on the edge. Staff, students and the sector share the challenges of marginalisation. Theoretical constructs about people in such liminal positions, will be applied to the particular circumstances of the course. These include work on ‘precarity’ by Pierre Bourdieu and Guy Standing; and Robert Castel’s three zones model. This chapter is about the implications of this for a Community Development and Social Care course in relation to integrity, ethics of recruitment, curriculum design, equality of opportunity, and sustainability. This is set against the background of what Barnett (2013) refers to as “emergence of a tacit idea of the corporate university” (p.1) influenced by a powerful ideology of neo-liberalism. Community Development educators in U.K. Universities face the challenge of how to equip people to transform their world whilst being beholden to a system primarily designed to serve the current social and economic system.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Pedagogy of the Social Sciences Curriculum
EditorsJamie P. Halsall, Michael Snowden
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-33868-2
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-33866-8
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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