Community Work Literature Essay Example

  • Category:
  • Document type:
  • Level:
  • Page:
  • Words:


Community Work Literature

Community work Literature


A community is universally accepted as a social unit that is made up of two or more people who share something in common like values, norms, identity and in most cases a sense of place that is known to exist in a particular geographical area (Bauman, 2000). Additionally, durable relations that go beyond individuals immediate genealogical ties also makes up what is accepted as a community. In order to understand the concept of the community, it important to clearly state the definition of the Community, explore some of the characteristics that define the community using the Australian Aboriginals and non-aboriginals.

Definition of the community

Individuals tend to define any close social attachments as very crucial to their practice, identity and roles in the community institutions like work, government, family, home, or humanity on a larger extend. However, although communities are basically small when considered in terms of social ties, it is accepted that community may be taken to represent a larger group affiliations like international communities, national communities and virtual communities (Clarke, 2000). When it comes to humanity, human communities may share belief, resources, intent, needs, risks and preferences in common which in the process may impact the degree of cohesiveness and the identity of the participants. In simple terms, a community is a self-organized network of individuals who share a common cause, agenda or interest and work together by sharing ideas, other resources and information. In other words, a community can be said to be a cluster of common interests that come into existence from association.

Community strengths

The concept of a strong community has not been used frequently in most literatures on community life, either overseas or in Australia (Edgar, 2001). Nevertheless, a number of closely related concepts have been employed to indicate some common aspects of community wellbeing .Some of the concepts that have been used previously include resilient communities, sustainable communities, community capacity, healthy communities and community development. In principle, there have been some ways in which the concept of community strengths have been established (Bauman, 2000). Previously, ideological traditions and religious values have played a very crucial role in the determination in establishment of community vision and values. In this case, the strengths of the community were therefore determined by adherence to the pluralistic stories and guiding principles that were provided by religious doctrines (Kimmel & Aronson, 2009).

Community strengths can as well be viewed in some concepts as the possibility or the capacity to act (Edgar, 2001). Additionally, an emotionally strong community is accepted as the community that can maintain emotional stability and act appropriately in situations that are emotionally demanding. Similarly, community strengths can be acknowledged as the capacity for community action. Additionally, the notion of community resilience, sustainability and strength of the community, all points out the issue of capabilities to enhance and maintain outcomes (Bauman, 2000). Furthermore, community strengths are the ability to keep the community outcomes straight in such a way that they are as good in the present as they will be in the future. In this case, community strengths revolve around the idea of maintaining the community actions and ideas in the face of risks, shocks and stresses which might hamper the capacity of the community to advance. Its strengths emanates from the fact that the community id able to maintain life and the vitality that comes with it (Clarke, 2000).

Another way of looking at the strengths of the community is by looking at the community and the human needs. According to some scholars all human demands are relative. Yet it is argued that some demands and needs are universal in the sense that they are applicable to each and every community. Therefore the strengths of the community revolve around the notion of meeting up the end needs of each community (Bauman, 2000). As far as community strengths is concerned might be used to refer to the needs and demands that each and every individual desires. In simple terms, the strength of the community revolves around the enhancement and maintenance of the wellbeing at both collective and individuals levels. Based on this argument, it can be noted that community strengths can be looked at in two different ways; first, revolve around the characteristics of community strengths. Second , community strengths and resources can be defined in-terms of the processes and resources that help to enhance collective well-being that are consistent with the community equity, participation, comprehensiveness, equity, social responsibility and self-reliance (Clarke, 2000). Thus, the two aspects make us to define community strength that help the community to enhance collective and individual wellbeing in the area in which they are operating.

In summary, the resources and strengths of the community are basically hidden in the talents and skills of individuals, the resources that are provided by local organizations and associations, local industries and business, land, parks, property, buildings, arts, heritage and culture of the community and the institutional resources such as major schools , the council and employers (Edgar, 2001).

Community strengths in relation to Aboriginals and Non-Aboriginals

By looking at the community strength of the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Australia, one can easily have very important information that can help a community to improve on the knowledge of their diverse cultural dynamics that makes up the aboriginal communities. Additionally, it is important to understand the communication and engagement strategies that can help people relate with each other in the same way aboriginal people (Clarke, 2000). Aboriginal communities and culture are believed to very diverse and since there are so many communities tribes in Australia, this might be very crucial in comprehending the community strengths. As much as the Aboriginal is commonly used by so many scholars, it is crucial to note that these names are basically the legacy of colonization (Edgar, 2001).In other words, Aboriginals together with non-aboriginals (Torres Strait) are basically used in this context in recognition that they are basically the first people to inhabit NSW. One clear thing is the fact that as much as these two tribes have existed for so long together, it is clear that they have different cultures with each having their own unique beliefs, histories and values.

Aboriginal people are generally accepted as the owners of the Australian land and it is accepted that their position needs to be acknowledged and incorporated into any official activities (Kenny, 2006). Additionally, one needs to be aware of the extended family whenever an individual wants to interact with the aboriginal people. In other words, the values , norms and beliefs of the extended family must be taken into consideration at all cost and in making important decisions. Moreover, in the culture of the Aboriginals, there are certain activities that are performed by Women and Men separately. In this case, these practices have adverse penalties and regulations that need to be adhered to. In other words, some communities of the Aboriginals still respect this kind of practices which can as well be classified as one of the community strengths since anyone working with them needs to understand such customs (Clarke, 2000). Therefore, if an individual is organizing a meeting with the aboriginals, it is essential that they discuss whether the topic under consideration is within the proximity of everyone most especially where the research topic revolves around Women and Men’s business. When it comes to non-aboriginals, in some cases, they are asked to give discussion space during Aboriginals Men’s and Women’s business. In such instances, it is very important that some people should not take serious offence to such actions as it only implies that aboriginal-specific or sensitive issues will be talked about.

Respect in the history of the aboriginals is a very important element. In this case, it is important for individuals to actively listen, acknowledge and respect Aboriginals needs in a very culturally appropriate design (Eversole, 2015). Additionally, it is important for people to show utmost respect for leaders and elders living in the community and in the process, try and involve them in very important decision-making processes. Besides, for non-Aboriginal, referring to elder people as Uncle or Aunty may not be deemed appropriate unless the parties involved have established a very strong relationship (Jureidini & Poole, (Eds.) 2003). Therefore, it is important to respect cultural protocols and values that determine the way the aboriginals conduct their businesses.


As much as Aboriginals communities possess different structures, it is accepted that most aboriginal communities carry out their operations based on the customs and traditions of extended community care particularly in remote and rural areas (Clarke, 2000).As far as community strengths are concerned, it is essential that individuals start developing and comprehending the diversity of the community language and kinships groups. In some communities, there are also a mix of historical people and traditional people which could be very crucial in addressing the outcomes of the community in acknowledgment of the lands and the elders of the community. Therefore, finding out the type of community structures will make it very easy to network and make presentations to the community.


Bauman, Z. (2000). Liquid modernity. Cambridge; Malden, Mass: Polity Press

Clarke, S. (2000). Social work as community development: A management model for social change (2nd Ed.). Aldershot, Hampshire, England; Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate.

Edgar, D. (2001). The patchwork nation. Rethinking government — re-building community. Sydney: Harper Collins Publishers.

Eversole, R (2015) Knowledge Partnering For Community Development. London: Routledge.

Jureidini, R. & Poole, M. (Eds.) (2003). Sociology: Australian connections. (3rd edition). Sydney: Allen & Unwin. 

Kenny, S. (2006). Developing communities for the future. South Melbourne, Vic.: Thomson.

Kimmel, M. & Aronson, A. (2009). Sociology now. The essentials. Boston: Pearson Allyn & Bacon.