Teaching community development with Hannah Arendt: Enabling new emancipatory possibilities

Uschi Bay

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Hannah Arendt is one the most original political thinkers of the 20th century. She developed a unique political lexicon using concepts such as ‘political action’, ʼnatality’, ‘plurality’, ‘publicness’, ‘acting in concert’ and the ‘banality of evil’ to enable on-going resistance to totalitarian impulses. This chapter will outline some of Arendt’s key concepts and their application to teaching community development within social work education. Further, Arendt’s method of political storytelling is elaborated, as it promotes the capacity to make political judgments, a necessary component of community development teaching and practice. As community development is considered both a professional and a political practice it is important to assist students to participate in a robust political ethic based on sound political principles. Arendt’s political principles are presented to yield ‘solidarity’ as well as evaluative standards to assess community development practice. Arendt used critical situated thinking as part of her thinking about political action. Student and educator interactions are promoted to incorporate critical situated thinking and political storytelling to analyse current structures and practices in the world, in order to create emancipatory alternatives in collaboration with others.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Critical Pedagogies for Social Work
EditorsChristine Morley, Phillip Ablett, Carolyn Noble, Stephen Cowden
Place of PublicationLondon UK
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781351002035, 9781351002042
ISBN (Print)9781138545748
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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