Much has been written about community work as a form of social control (see, for example, CDP, Gilding the Ghetto, 1977); far less has been written about the form this takes in practice and how you can cope with it. Sometimes it is the case that employing agencies have a very narrow and restricting interpretation of what a professional community worker may do. An interesting but rather unusual example of this is as follows. Two of our students were placed with a non-statutory organisation which was only prepared to work with groups which adopted militant methods to achieve their goals. The students felt controlled by the agency because they were not allowed to encourage groups to use other methods. You may find that the agency is effectively using you to manipulate the group into acting in ways which suit the employing organisation, but which are inimical to the interests of the groups. Examples of this are legion but one will suffice. A student was doing a practical placement with a planning department which was concerned to establish a community centre in one locality. The student spent time liaising with community organisations about the building and eventually formed a group to discuss the plans.
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