Hallmarks of the Political in Community Organizing: An Arendtian Perspective

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Abstract

Drawing upon Hannah Arendt’s adherence to existential phenomenology, the article advances a political understanding and interpretation of community organizing. Arendt, it is maintained, offers valuable insight into political phenomena which are constitutive of community organizing. Four aspects, in particular, are highlighted—what I refer to as the four “A”s of association, action, appearance and authenticity—understood in existentialist, phenomenological, ontological and ultimately political terms, as primary ways of being-together-politically. The first part of the article examines Arendt’s existential phenomenological approach in shaping her understanding of the political. This provides the theoretical basis for examining in the second part of the article, phenomena which are constitutive of community organizing, highlighting how association, action, appearance and authenticity form distinctive political characteristics of community organizing as an approach. At different points, brief reference is made to the work of London Citizens, the largest broad-based organization in the UK, in order to illustrate the connections between Arendtian thought and community-based organizing.
Original languageEnglish
JournalVOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations
Early online date22 Jun 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2021

Keywords

  • Community organizing Arendt Phenomenology Politics The political

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