Cormac Russell > Archive

The Welfare State is an Extension of Us, Not a Replacement for Us

The Welfare State is an important extension of our human community’s capacity to care; not a replacement for it. Communities produce care (full-stop) and the systems or service world should simply be the support to that care where required, a resource to carers and not the source of care.

The Change Spectrum

I’ve had the privilege of seeing a lot of professional practitioners wrestle with the dilemmas that Asset-Based Community Development presents - serving while walking backwards being chief among them.

The Best Nest for Asset-Based Community Driven Efforts (ABCDE)

Society is often spoken of as if it has only two important dimensions; namely, individuals on the one hand and formal institutions on the other. What this map of civic space leaves out is everything in between: families, neighbours and friends, clubs, local business, faith communities and associations.

Should the Term Community Leader Go Into Room 101?

Part 3 of a series on ABCD 'frustrations' requiring fresh thought

John McKnight has a passion for jazz. Once a year he becomes a roadie for one week and travels on a bus with an aging “old time” jazz band. He once told me if he hadn’t gone down the road he went, a life as a jazz musician would have been a dream come true. Not at all surprisingly, one of his favourite metaphors for leaderless groups is a jazz jam session.

ABCD: It Is Not About Overt Positivity

Part 2 of a series on ABCD 'frustrations' requiring fresh thought

Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) starts with what’s strong not what’s wrong, but should we be expected to always look on the bright side of life? This week’s offer to Room 101 is "overt positivity" in the face of structural inequality; when misguided ABCD practice ignores the underlying issues of power and oppression in communities.

Should the Term Asset Map Be Put Into Room 101?

Part 1 of a series on ABCD 'frustrations' requiring fresh thought

Asset mapping was never intended to be about data gathering by institutions but about relationship building between neighbours. It feels like there is a move away from this neighbourly connection, muddying the waters for thoughtful citizens hoping to grow and develop their own asset maps.

Universal Citizen Income: The Way Forward

When governments value people they find creative ways of making people even more valuable in their local economies and communities. In turn, people return the compliment by contributing to the building of stronger local economies.

It Takes a Village to Co-create and Sustain Mental Health

In last year’s May edition of the New Internationalist, Dinyar Godrej’s article A Healthy Mind in a Healthy Society reminds us that good mental health is rooted in the community and is not the unilateral responsibility of the individual. In other words people with mental health challenges are not to blame, nor, alone, are the professional systems that endeavour to care for them.

Communities are the Atomic Elements of Molecular Democracy: Part 4

Currently, populist theories of social and economic change in the Global North, suggest that crises’ in the domains of democracy, health, economics, and our ecological systems are matters exclusively for legislative and institutional reform. As argued previously in this series, the prevailing assumption is that these are the big-ticket political items of the day which can only be resolved, at scale, by technocrats.

Communities are the Atomic Elements of Molecular Democracy: Part 3

In the first part of this blog series, I argued for the need to shift from a Government centric approach to democracy towards a citizen centred one. In the second part I went on to make the case for re-interpreting social change within the context of the politics of small things. Challenging the prevailing view that social, environmental, economic and political change happens with a big bang, instead in line with Jeffery C. Goldfarb, I suggested that change emerges through a web of seemingly disconnected whispers, which in fact are imperceptibly connected in countless complex ways, and that it is these whispers that are the enactment of democracy.


Reprint This Story

Axiom News content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Stories may be reprinted in their entirety with permission and when appropriately credited.

Please contact Axiom News at
1-800-294-0051 for more information.