Community engagement: a cautionary tale

Szorenyi-Reischl, Nick (2005) Community engagement: a cautionary tale. In: Proceedings of 2005 Australian Universities Quality Forum, pp. 136-143. From: 2005 Australian Universities Quality Forum, 5-9 July 2005, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

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Abstract

Projects in community involvement are often ground breaking, dynamic and many have led to valuable outcomes. However, I want to sound a cautionary note. In what appears to be a widespread revival in involvement with the community, community engagement is emerging as a term under which different ideological orientations lurk: from celebration of partnership, to altruism, to marketing and the marketisation of universities, to institutional survival, etc. The intersection of the rise in the rhetoric of community engagement with theoretical perspectives drawn from Foucault, raises further questions about the genealogy of 'community engagement' and its role as a mechanism of self regulation in thegovernmentality of institutions. Following Giddens and Beck, questions also arise in relation to community engagement as a potential renewal in universities in the face of risk and shame. It would be further interesting to follow the path of community engagement within the context of new prudentialism in education (Peters, 2005; O'Malley, 1992), but these perspectives can only be suggested here. So this paper remains an opening exploration of what I understand to be the new community engagement, in which community engagement is to be drawn into the governance of the University. Without a clear sense of what underlies a renewed emphasis on community engagement, it will be hard to assess benefits and the risks. It is worth bringing the differences to the surface. I hope to do some of this by starting with an example.

Item ID: 14812
Item Type: Conference Item (Refereed Research Paper - E1)
Keywords: community development; revitalization; education policy
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ISBN: 978-1-877090-42-4
ISSN: 1446-4268
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2010 04:40
FoR Codes: 13 EDUCATION > 1399 Other Education > 139999 Education not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9399 Other Education and Training > 939999 Education and Training not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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