Cormac Russell > Archive

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.

Communities are the Atomic Elements of Molecular Democracy: Part 2

In a world that has become schooled in the value of professionalisation and massification, there are significant moments in time where people act as if they can be the primary shapers of their world, and prove themselves right in the act of doing so. There are moments when the prevailing map goes up in smoke and the territory starkly reveals the truth, or at least as valid a version of the truth as any other: if anything of enduring worth is to rise up from these ashes (and assets!), it will be as a result of our collective efforts at local level.

Communities are the Atomic Elements of Molecular Democracy: Part 1

In this series of four blogs I’d like to think about active citizenship and democracy. In this regard, I will not be writing about:

  1. How we can use civic muscle and our precious collective efforts to change a disinterested technocratic elite, fired by the moral mission of “society’s best and brightest in service to its most needy.”
  2. Reforming systems, or how we can get our leaders to be better leaders, or even how we can lobby for better policies or legislative frameworks.
  3. Getting more people to vote.

Looking Back to Look Forward

The intellectual heritage of Asset-Based Community Development

We’ve just finished the ABCD (Asset-Based Community Development) Festival where we celebrated with people from 17 countries. We revelled in the greatness of small, local, and organic things. And we weren’t alone. On June 18 we trended at Number 6 in the UK on Twitter for over two hours, then dropped to Number 10 for a further hour; and we also trended at Number 9 in Canada.

What Does Abundance Mean Anyway?

Last week I received a great email from someone whom I find to be a terrifically deep thinker. They ask the most brilliant questions, such as this one: Last week in your video blog you spoke about Ego versus Eco; is there a connection between Ego and Eco, and Scarcity and Abundance? Great question! The answer in my mind is most certainly yes.


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