Drs. Ashdown and Talmage are editing a special issue for the Community Development journal called The Dark(er) Side(s) of Community Development. The Call has been extended through the end of February 2023. To submit a paper for consideration for this special issue, visit this website: https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rcod20/current
Much has been made about community development and well-being, with scholars, activists, policymakers, and politicians from various perspectives working toward improving local lives and health. Despite the positive connotations of the words “development” and “well-being,” the processes and outcomes of development are not unequivocally positive in terms of impact on community well-being. As with all worthwhile pursuits, ‘dark side’ processes and impacts persist despite good intentions. Whether due to good intentions gone awry or purposeful unethical behavior, harm can and does in community development and well-being efforts. This harm and its antecedents are inextricably connected to power dynamics and (unjust) social (dis)equilibriums in communities.
For this special issue, the guest editors invite articles contributed by expert authors across different fields who will address “dark” community development (CD) as well as provide practice and policy insights. Theoreticians have pushed CD theory forward regarding what CD is and what CD is not. While CD theories have roots in political and sociological inquiry, CD definitions are limited regarding their philosophically darker (e.g., harmful) aspects. Current CD definitions focus on shifting equilibriums in positive directions, but might the same tools that are used to create or co-create community good be used for harm, deterioration or destruction, purposeful or not?