What’s so funny about peace, love and understanding? Reflections on professional love as the embodiment of radical community work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper reflects on the purpose of community work, particularly as practiced in the most vulnerable communities in the global North, where marginalization, exclusion and oppression are experienced viscerally after forty years of neo-liberalism. Foregrounding the relational nature of community work, it posits the view that practice must be infused with hope, and that the most radical way to achieve this is to demonstrate our love of humanity in all our interactions with oppressed individuals and groups in these communities.

An approach to embedding professionally loving practice in community work is explored and critiqued, repositioning Freire’s ‘pedagogy of love’ at the centre of purposive, transformational community work in late modernity. Also drawing from other radical writers’ evocations to similar forms of practice, the paper foregrounds the view that professional love should be at the core of radical, hope-inducing community work practice.

The views of one hundred community work practitioners, elicited through their participation in an online survey, are presented. Their contributions demonstrate that there is considerable support for the view that love should feature as a central element of radical community work practice, offering a grounding to be optimistic in these ‘troubled times’. Findings form the survey are presented, identifying some of the ways in which respondents exemplify professional love in their practice, highlighting the benefits of professional love and raising important questions about the potential pitfalls in this approach.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRadical Community Work Journal
Volume4
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 May 2020

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'What’s so funny about peace, love and understanding? Reflections on professional love as the embodiment of radical community work'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this