Crossing Boundaries: Building a Model to Effectively Address Difference in Community Practice


Community organizing has a rich tradition within the field of social work. Prevailing community practice models, approaches, and frameworks remain primarily based on practice wisdom, experience, and intuition. Difference, pervasive in various contemporary contexts of practice, largely mediates interactions at the community level. Although difference is addressed at various levels of the practice continuum and within the IFSW and NASW codes of ethics, few methodologically driven tools exist within the literature to guide practitioners. This grounded theory study initiates early development of a community practice model based on forging alliances across boundaries of difference. The Critical Difference Engagement model is based on local community leaders’ and organizers’ experiences working across dimensions of power, race, gender, age, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status, it provides practitioners with a framework for social change and building solidarity across difference in multiple contexts

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This paper was published in VCU Scholars Compass.

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