© 2014

Community-Based Interventions

Philosophy and Action


  • The practice of community-based projects is tied to this theoretical justification throughout

  • New community-based methods provided

  • Emphasis is placed on social activism and justice issues


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-vii
  2. John W. Murphy
    Pages 1-15
  3. John W. Murphy
    Pages 31-46
  4. John W. Murphy
    Pages 47-62
  5. John W. Murphy
    Pages 63-75
  6. John W. Murphy
    Pages 77-92
  7. John W. Murphy
    Pages 111-125
  8. John W. Murphy
    Pages 127-144
  9. John W. Murphy
    Pages 145-159
  10. Back Matter
    Pages 161-169

About this book


For decades, community-centered social services have been promoted as an admirable ideal. Yet the concept of decentralized services delivered where people live has proved to be an elusive ideal as well, with the promise of empowerment often giving way to disinterest and apathy.

Community-Based Interventions examines the reasons community programs tend to founder, and proposes a realistic framework for sustained success. The book's theoretical, philosophical, and political foundations begin with the importance of context, as in local knowledge and community self-definition and engagement. Innovative, often startling, approaches to planning, design, and implementation begin with the recognition that communities are not "targets" or "locations" to be "fixed," but social realities whose issues require concrete answers. The variety of examples described in these chapters demonstrate the power of community interventions in providing effective services, reducing inequities, and giving individuals greater control over their health, their environment, and, in the long run, their lives. Included in the coverage:

  • Redefining community: the social dimensions.
  • A new epidemiology to inform community work.
  • The role of research in designing community interventions.
  • The conceptual flow of a community-based project.
  • Building autonomy through leadership from below.
  • Relating social interventions to social justice.

Attuned to the current era of health and mental health reform, Community-Based Interventions represents a major step forward in its field, and makes an inspiring text for social workers, clinical social workers, public health administrators, and community activists.


civil society community planning in Latin America community-based interventions community-based research grass-roots sustainability organizing community-based projects

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of MiamiCoral GablesUSA

About the authors

John W. Murphy has a PhD in sociology from Ohio State University. For the past thirty years he has been writing on and working in community-based projects in both the United States and several countries in Latin America. Most recently he worked on a project in Ecuador that was devoted to building a health center in a poor community. Currently he is a professor of sociology at the University of Miami. He is co-author of Symbolization of Globalization, Development and Aging (in production).

Bibliographic information