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The Careless Society - Community And Its Counterfeits (Paperback) Loot Price: R594
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The Careless Society - Community And Its Counterfeits (Paperback)

John McKnight

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Loot Price R594 Discovery Miles 5 940

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A collection of academic articles - several more than ten years old - arguing that many social services have actually weakened communities. "Our essential problem," declares McKnight (Center for Urban Affairs and Policy Research/Northwestern Univ.), "is weak communities, made ever more impotent by our strong service systems." That sentiment has been aired increasingly in recent years, but this book is weakened by the fact that much of its material is redundant, dated, or incomplete. A veteran of work in low-income urban neighborhoods, McKnight offers only a few useful tales from the inside, notably an analysis of health in a West Side Chicago community, where his team studied hospital records and found that most hospital visits stemmed from problems (auto accidents, attacks, alcoholism) that had more to do with social disorder than disease. McKnight's criticism of the commodification of medicine and the hegemony of professionals would be stronger, however, had this 1978 article addressed today's debates. Similarly, in "Thinking About Crime, Sacrifice, and Community" he argues thoughtfully that "working communities" will do more to prevent crime than any sort of rehabilitation, but he doesn't update this 1986 essay to address current sentiments. Conceptual contributions hold up better. The author suggests that the "oldness industry" is dependent on viewing the elderly as incapacitated; similarly, the enemies of the common people are not poverty and disease but interests and institutions (both private and public) that benefit from their dependence. McKnight argues that community services do not deserve the name unless they actually involve people in community relationships, and suggests that community organizers should focus on influencing the flow of public spending, developing local enterprises, and finding ways "to reroot business." Less than the sum of its parts. (Kirkus Reviews)
Amid all the hand-wringing about the loss of community in America these days, here is a book that celebrates the ability of neighborhoods to heal from within. John McKnight tells how the experts' best efforts to rebuild and revitalize communities are in fact destroying them. McKnight focuses on four "counterfeiting" aspects of society: professionalism, medicine, human service systems, and the criminal justice system. Because in many areas the ideological roots of service grow from a religious ideal, the book concludes with a reflection on the idea of Christian service and its transformation into carelessness. Reforming our human service institutions won't work, McKnight writes. These systems do too much, intervene where they are ineffective, and try to substitute service for irreplaceable care. Instead of more or better services, the book demonstrates that the community capacity of the local citizens is the basis for resolving many of America's social problems.


Imprint: BasicBooks
Country of origin: United States
Release date: April 1996
First published: April 1996
Authors: John McKnight
Dimensions: 204 x 135 x 15mm (L x W x T)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 194
ISBN-13: 978-0-465-09126-3
Categories: Books > Social sciences > Sociology, social studies > Anthropology > General
Books > Social sciences > Sociology, social studies > Social groups & communities > General
LSN: 0-465-09126-1
Barcode: 9780465091263

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