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Am J Community Psychol. 1995 Oct;23(5):729-48.

Community organizing: an ecological route to empowerment and power.

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Center for Social & Community Development, Rutgers University, School of Social Work, Piscataway, New Jersey 08855, USA.


An important contribution to empowerment theory and community psychology practice can be made by examining how the concept of social power is developed and manifested in the context of community organizing. Theory and practice may be further informed through an ecological analysis of organizing processes and interventions. Lessons from a national community organizing network highlight the relationship between empowerment and power through a set of organizing principles and a cycle of organizing activity. Perhaps most important is the understanding that a reciprocal relationship exists between development of power for community organizations and individual empowerment for organization members. Implications for empowerment theory in the community organizing domain are provided in a matrix adapted from Zimmerman's description of empowerment processes and outcomes at multiple levels of analysis.

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