Empowered Communities: Science, Ideology And The Limits Of Political Action

Open access

Abstract

AIMS - Against the background of an increased interest in community participation in political processes, this article critically examines how the “community” is constituted as a political entity in the Communities That Care drug prevention programme. METHOD - Through an examination of 14 publications written by the programme developers and other collaborators, I have analysed the programme’s theoretical foundation. RESULTS - The programme seeks to constitute the community as an expert community, drawing on the principles of prevention science in its decision-making processes and thereby asserting the primacy of scientific reasoning in politics. Disagreement, otherwise regarded as the “essence” of democratic politics, is to be neutralised through the establishment of a common language based on prevention science. The programme constitutes needs as existing independently of any culturally and politically informed interpretations and promptly met by ready-tested, evidence-based interventions. By combining a consumer subject and an instrumental-rational subject, the programme establishes a specific kind of democratic subject expected to exert its choices on a market offering instant solutions to problems formulated outside of the community’s decision-making processes. CONCLUSION - The analysis points to a range of limitations and issues on how community empowerment and democratic participation are conceptualised in the programme. By asserting the primacy of scientific reasoning in drug-policy processes, the programme sets limits to what counts as a political problem and which responses are deemed legitimate. This risks exerting significant closure on the ability of communities to speak in properly political terms.

References

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  • *Arthur M. W. Ayers C. D. Graham K. A. & Hawkins J. D. (2006). Mobilizing communities to reduce risk for drug abuse: A comparison of two strategies. In Z. Sloboda & W. J. Bukoski (Eds.) Handbook of drug abuse prevention: Theory science and practice (pp. 129-144). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.

  • *Arthur M. W. Briney J. S. Hawkins J. D. Abbott R. D. Brooke-Weiss B. L. & Catalano R. F. (2007). Measuring risk and protection in communities using the Communities That Care Youth Survey. Evaluation and Program Planning 30(2) 197-211.

    • Crossref
  • Bacchi C. (1999). Women policy and politics: The construction of policy problems. London: Sage Publications.

  • Bacchi C. (2009). Analysing policy: What’s the problem represented to be? Frenchs Forest NSW: Pearson.

  • Beresford P. (2002). User involvement in research and evaluation: Liberation or regulation? Social Policy & Society 1(2) 95-105.

  • *Brown E. C. Hawkins J. D. Arthur M. W. & Briney J. S. (2011). Prevention service system transformation using Communities That Care. Journal of Community Psychology 39(2) 183-201.

    • Crossref
  • *Catalano R. F. & Hawkins J. D. (1996). The social development model: A theory of antisocial behavior. In J. D. Hawkins (Ed.) Delinquency and crime: Current theories (pp. 149-197). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • *Communities That Care (CTC) fact booklet. Retrieved from http://www.sdrg.org/ctcresource/Prevention%20Strategies%20Guide/introduction.pdf

  • Eriksson E. (2015). Sanktionerat motstånd. Brukarinflytande som fenomen och praktik [Sanctioned resistance. User influence as phenomenon and praxis]. Lund: Lunds universitet.

  • *Fagan A. A. Hanson K. Hawkins J. D. & Arthur M. W. (2008a). Bridging science to practice: Achieving prevention program implementation fidelity in the community youth development study. American Journal of Community Psychology 41(3/4) 235-249.

  • *Fagan A. A. Hawkins J. D. & Catalano R. F. (2008b). Using community epidemiologic data to improve social settings: The Communities That Care prevention system. In M. Shinn & H. Yoshikawa (Eds.) Toward positive youth development: Transforming schools and community programs (pp. 292-312). New York: Oxford University Press.

  • Fairclough N. (1992). Discourse and social change. Cambridge Malden: Polity Press.

  • *Feinberg M. E. Greenberg M. T. Osgood D. W. Anderson A. & Babinski L. (2002). The effects of training community leaders in prevention science: Communities That Care in Pennsylvania. Evaluation and Program Planning 25(3) 245-259.

    • Crossref
  • *Feinberg M. E. Greenberg M. T. & Osgood D. W. (2004). Readiness functioning and perceived effectiveness in community prevention coalitions: A study of Communities That Care. American Journal of Community Psychology 33(3/4) 163-176.

    • Crossref
  • Foucault M. (2003). Övervakning och straff [Surveillance and punishment] (4th ed.). Lund: Arkiv förlag.

  • Fraser N. (1989). Talking about needs: Interpretive contests as political conflicts in welfare-state societies. Ethics 99(2) 291-313.

    • Crossref
  • *Haggerty K. P. & Shapiro V. B. (2013). Science-based prevention through Communities That Care: A model of social work practice for public health. Social Work in Public Health 28(3/4) 349-365.

    • Crossref
  • *Hawkins J. D. Catalano R. F. & Arthur M. W. (2002). Promoting science-based prevention in communities. Addictive Behaviors 27(6) 951-976.

    • Crossref
  • Mouffe C. (2005). On the political. Abingdon: Routledge.

  • *National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). (2003). Preventing drug abuse among children and adolescents: A researchbased guide for parents educators and community leaders (2nd ed.). Bethesda MD: National Institute on Drug Abuse.

  • Patterson S. Weaver T. Agath K. Albert E. Rhodes T. Rutter D. & Crawford M. (2008). ‘They can’t solve the problem without us’: A qualitative study of stakeholder perspectives on user involvement in drug treatment services in England. Health and Social Care in the Community 17(1) 54-62.

    • Crossref
  • *Quinby R. K. Hanson K. Brooke-Weiss B. Arthur M. W. & Hawkins J. D. (2008). Installing the Communities That Care prevention system: Implementation progress and fidelity in a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Community Psychology 36(3) 313-332.

    • Crossref
  • Ranciére J. (1999). Disagreement: Politics and philosophy. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press.

  • *Riggs N. R. Feinberg M. E. & Greenberg M. T. (2002). Community sector and gender differences in the perception of community-based prevention. Journal of Community Psychology 30(6) 709-721.

    • Crossref
  • Schulte S. Moring J. Meier P. S. & Barrowclough C. (2007). User involvement and desired service developments in drug treatment: Service user and provider views. Drugs: Education Prevention & Policy 14(3) 277-287.

    • Crossref
  • Stadskontoret (2016). CTC - ett styrsystem för prevention [CTC - a management system for prevention]. Malmö stad: Stadskontoret.

  • Wells R. Ward A. J. Feinberg M. & Alexander J. A. (2008). What makes people to participate in communitybased coalitions? American Journal of Community Psychology 42(1/2) 94-104.

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  • Anderson B. (1992). Den föreställda gemenskapen: Reflexioner kring nationalismens ursprung och spridning [The imagined community: Reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism]. Göteborg: Daidalos.

  • *Arthur M. W. Ayers C. D. Graham K. A. & Hawkins J. D. (2006). Mobilizing communities to reduce risk for drug abuse: A comparison of two strategies. In Z. Sloboda & W. J. Bukoski (Eds.) Handbook of drug abuse prevention: Theory science and practice (pp. 129-144). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.

  • *Arthur M. W. Briney J. S. Hawkins J. D. Abbott R. D. Brooke-Weiss B. L. & Catalano R. F. (2007). Measuring risk and protection in communities using the Communities That Care Youth Survey. Evaluation and Program Planning 30(2) 197-211.

    • Crossref
  • Bacchi C. (1999). Women policy and politics: The construction of policy problems. London: Sage Publications.

  • Bacchi C. (2009). Analysing policy: What’s the problem represented to be? Frenchs Forest NSW: Pearson.

  • Beresford P. (2002). User involvement in research and evaluation: Liberation or regulation? Social Policy & Society 1(2) 95-105.

  • *Brown E. C. Hawkins J. D. Arthur M. W. & Briney J. S. (2011). Prevention service system transformation using Communities That Care. Journal of Community Psychology 39(2) 183-201.

    • Crossref
  • *Catalano R. F. & Hawkins J. D. (1996). The social development model: A theory of antisocial behavior. In J. D. Hawkins (Ed.) Delinquency and crime: Current theories (pp. 149-197). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • *Communities That Care (CTC) fact booklet. Retrieved from http://www.sdrg.org/ctcresource/Prevention%20Strategies%20Guide/introduction.pdf

  • Eriksson E. (2015). Sanktionerat motstånd. Brukarinflytande som fenomen och praktik [Sanctioned resistance. User influence as phenomenon and praxis]. Lund: Lunds universitet.

  • *Fagan A. A. Hanson K. Hawkins J. D. & Arthur M. W. (2008a). Bridging science to practice: Achieving prevention program implementation fidelity in the community youth development study. American Journal of Community Psychology 41(3/4) 235-249.

  • *Fagan A. A. Hawkins J. D. & Catalano R. F. (2008b). Using community epidemiologic data to improve social settings: The Communities That Care prevention system. In M. Shinn & H. Yoshikawa (Eds.) Toward positive youth development: Transforming schools and community programs (pp. 292-312). New York: Oxford University Press.

  • Fairclough N. (1992). Discourse and social change. Cambridge Malden: Polity Press.

  • *Feinberg M. E. Greenberg M. T. Osgood D. W. Anderson A. & Babinski L. (2002). The effects of training community leaders in prevention science: Communities That Care in Pennsylvania. Evaluation and Program Planning 25(3) 245-259.

    • Crossref
  • *Feinberg M. E. Greenberg M. T. & Osgood D. W. (2004). Readiness functioning and perceived effectiveness in community prevention coalitions: A study of Communities That Care. American Journal of Community Psychology 33(3/4) 163-176.

    • Crossref
  • Foucault M. (2003). Övervakning och straff [Surveillance and punishment] (4th ed.). Lund: Arkiv förlag.

  • Fraser N. (1989). Talking about needs: Interpretive contests as political conflicts in welfare-state societies. Ethics 99(2) 291-313.

    • Crossref
  • *Haggerty K. P. & Shapiro V. B. (2013). Science-based prevention through Communities That Care: A model of social work practice for public health. Social Work in Public Health 28(3/4) 349-365.

    • Crossref
  • *Hawkins J. D. Catalano R. F. & Arthur M. W. (2002). Promoting science-based prevention in communities. Addictive Behaviors 27(6) 951-976.

    • Crossref
  • Mouffe C. (2005). On the political. Abingdon: Routledge.

  • *National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). (2003). Preventing drug abuse among children and adolescents: A researchbased guide for parents educators and community leaders (2nd ed.). Bethesda MD: National Institute on Drug Abuse.

  • Patterson S. Weaver T. Agath K. Albert E. Rhodes T. Rutter D. & Crawford M. (2008). ‘They can’t solve the problem without us’: A qualitative study of stakeholder perspectives on user involvement in drug treatment services in England. Health and Social Care in the Community 17(1) 54-62.

    • Crossref
  • *Quinby R. K. Hanson K. Brooke-Weiss B. Arthur M. W. & Hawkins J. D. (2008). Installing the Communities That Care prevention system: Implementation progress and fidelity in a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Community Psychology 36(3) 313-332.

    • Crossref
  • Ranciére J. (1999). Disagreement: Politics and philosophy. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press.

  • *Riggs N. R. Feinberg M. E. & Greenberg M. T. (2002). Community sector and gender differences in the perception of community-based prevention. Journal of Community Psychology 30(6) 709-721.

    • Crossref
  • Schulte S. Moring J. Meier P. S. & Barrowclough C. (2007). User involvement and desired service developments in drug treatment: Service user and provider views. Drugs: Education Prevention & Policy 14(3) 277-287.

    • Crossref
  • Stadskontoret (2016). CTC - ett styrsystem för prevention [CTC - a management system for prevention]. Malmö stad: Stadskontoret.

  • Wells R. Ward A. J. Feinberg M. & Alexander J. A. (2008). What makes people to participate in communitybased coalitions? American Journal of Community Psychology 42(1/2) 94-104.

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