Ingrid Burkett; Organizing in the new marketplace: contradictions and opportunities for community development organizations in the ashes of neoliberalism. Community Dev J 2011; 46 (suppl_2): ii111-ii127. doi: 10.1093/cdj/bsr002
Neoliberalism is proving sufficiently robust to withstand the challenges of the global financial and environmental crises. Yet, this is also a time for creating alternative visions and laying down strong practical and strategic foundations for how community development can represent an important part of how communities address future challenges. This paper starts by seeking a complex understanding of the variable and contradictory, psychologically and ideologically entangled, rather than singular ways in which community development workers and organizations react and respond to neoliberalism. The paper suggests that our reactions and responses to policy frameworks are complex, messy and multifaceted and acknowledging this can help us to engage with some of the contradictions of our professional and organizational lives. It can also assist us in developing some frameworks or strategies about how we can juggle such contradictions in our practice. Finally, it can point to the importance of naming and integrating our actions and contradictions in ways transparent to those around us. The paper suggests that by exploring the multiplicity of markets used by consumers, new opportunities arise for community development that reach beyond old binaries.