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McKnight and Plummer textbook, Community Organizing: Theory and Practice

Use the following textbook as a reference.

Chapters 1, 2, and 3 of the McKnight and Plummer textbook, Community Organizing: Theory and Practice

Please select a community of focus. The community you select can be based on the one you live or work in, or it can be based on a community that interests you and you would like to research. Your community may be either geographically based (complete, partial, or dispersed) or a community of interest (those that have most of their activities face-to-face, those that exist only online or a blended form that includes face-to-face and virtual connections).

Part 1
For the first part of the assignment, please answer the following questions:

1. The name of the community, a brief history of its development, and geographic boundaries. In addition to conducting online research, try to reach out to people who live in the community as well to gain their perspective
2. Who and what are the key individuals (and/or their social roles), primary groups such as important kinship networks, informal groups and associations, and formal organizations that comprise the community.
3. What changes have occurred over time in the community? Were their outside influencers such as political groups, etc.?
4. Describe the ecology or natural environment including such details as geological features like mountains, lakes, and rivers; the condition of its area and water, whether it is crowded or sparsely populated, etc.
5. Describe the class structure. What is the mixture of economic classes? How well do they get along? Describe the ethnic composition. What activities and behaviours differentiate the different sub-cultures? How well do the different groups get along?
6. How economically independent is the focal community? For instance, does it have stores, elementary schools, places of worship, recreation facilities or do residents have to go elsewhere for such services.?Take a walk or a drive through your focal community trying to look at it through a stranger’s eyes. 7. 7. What positive things would we see? What might be a concern? What sort of “feeling” would we have about the place?
8. From your personal experiences or from reading the local newspaper (or listening to the local TV news), what are some issues facing your focal community that might require united action?
9. Talk with some of your neighbours and friends. What do they see as the strengths of the area? What changes would they like to see?
10. Use your analysis to identify some possible directions for organizing your community and perhaps a project or two you would like to see initiated.

Part 2
In the second part of the assignment, analyze your target project as an open system using the twelve components of open systems discussed in Chapter Two and in the online readings and answer the following questions:

1. What is your focal community system? Define it as carefully as possible.
2. What micro systems are involved in your project?
3. What mezzo systems impact your focal community system?
4. What meta-systems may impact your focal system?
5. How might these macro systems be affecting your focal community system?
6. Define the geographic boundaries of your project if it has them. For online communities, identify the kinds of people you are trying to reach and those you might want to exclude.
7. What forces in or around your focal system might strengthen your goals? 8. 8. What might threaten them? What actions could you or the group take to strengthen opportunities and/or reduce threats?
9. Discuss how systems theory can be used as an analytical tool. Include any questions you may have about the nature of social systems as this is a complex topic.

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