LETS: A community development
LETS: A community development

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

LETS: A community development

8 Perspectives

The LETSLINK UK [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] website provides information and news about LETS initiatives in the UK.

The American sociologist Robert Putnam has argued powerfully for the importance of social capital – something which is built up collectively through the voluntary activities of individuals participating in community organisations and other community activity – leading to a bonding of the members of society. The ‘positive consequences of social capital [are] mutual support, cooperation, trust and institutional effectiveness’ (2000, p. 22). These are qualities which, he argues, make communities healthy and sustainable.

However, Marilyn Taylor, who starts from a UK perspective, takes a more critical view of the whole discourse about changing communities, and about terms such as social capital. She points out that the assumption that social capital and civil society are automatically good for all citizens is a contested one. She suggests that communities and networks can as easily create exclusion, rather than inclusion, particularly for groups who are already oppressed (Taylor, 2003, p. 62–3).

There are, therefore, different perspectives about the value and effectiveness of intervening in communities. It is important to be aware of these contrasting points of view. As with other approaches to improving the lives of both individuals and neighbourhoods, community development has a number of recognised methods of working.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus