A Critique of Rothman's and Other Standard Community Organizing Models: Toward Developing a Culturally Proficient Community Organizing Framework

By Laing, Bonnie Young | Community Development: Journal of the Community Development Society, Spring 2009 | Go to article overview

A Critique of Rothman's and Other Standard Community Organizing Models: Toward Developing a Culturally Proficient Community Organizing Framework


Laing, Bonnie Young, Community Development: Journal of the Community Development Society


This article critiques Rothman's community organizing analysis framework on the basis of (a) attention to culture as a central dynamic shaping community organizing and (b) the exclusion of organizing models endemic to African, Latin, Asian, and Native American (ALANA) communities. Other standard community organizing models are similarly analyzed, along with cross-cultural and culturally centered community organizing models. All models are examined with regard to level of cultural competence and then compared and contrasted with Rothman's original framework. Based on this analysis, a modification of Rothman's community analysis framework is proposed that includes the examination of the cultural world view(s) held in the target community and the ways in which cultural forms are used in organizing. Implications for community practice, research, and teaching are offered to conclude the article.

Keywords: African Americans, African centered social work, community organizing, cultural competence, cultural diversity, deconstruction

Culture is the sum total of a people's thoughts, beliefs and behaviors (Karenga, 1998); as such, culture serves as a schema for living and interpreting reality (Nobles, 1990). Although seemingly obvious, it is important to point out that every individual and community has a culture (Lum, 2007) and that culture shapes the ways in which all people and communities define problems and conceptualize strategies for problem resolution (McGoldrick, Giordano, & Garcia Preto, 2005). Thus, culture has a profound impact on community organizing for community development.

In recognition of the influence of culture, social workers and other practitioners have firmly embraced the goal of striving to develop culturally competent practice models. The success of their efforts is evident in the plethora of micro-level practice models that are centered in the cultures of various peoples. However, in community practice pedagogy, the standard framework offered by Rothman (Fisher, 1994; Rothman, 1974, 1996; Tropman, Erlich, & Rothman, 1995; Well, 1996) to conceptualize community organizing lacks attention to culture and the influence of this factor on community organizing approaches (Betten & Austin, 1990; Bradshaw, Soifer & Gutierrez, 1996; Burwell, 1995; Carlton-LaNey, 1994; Glugoski, Reich, & Rivera, 1994; Gutierrez & Lewis, 1994; Rivera & Erlich, 1997; Stoecker, 2003).

Rothman's framework has been central to community organizing practice and pedagogy. Its basic concepts have endured because of their explanatory power and applicably to practice. However, the inattention to the centrality of culture in conceptualizing community organizing presents a key epistemological lacuna, which may challenge community practitioners' ability to develop the most appropriate community organizing strategies and interventions for the target milieu.

This article explores culture and cultural competence, as related to community organizing, in order to propose a modification to Rothman's community organizing analysis framework that will allow it to be used to identify and be responsive to the dynamics of culture in community practice. This exploration will include (a) defining culture and cultural competence as related to community organizing, (b) an assessment of the cultural competence of traditional community organizing frameworks and select alternative organizing models, (c) an examination of organizing models centering on issues of culture, and (d) an integration of the findings into a modification of Rothman framework.

CULTURE AND CULTURAL COMPETENCE DEFINED IN THE CONTEXT OF COMMUNITY ORGANIZING

According to Amulya, Campbell, Allen, and McDowell (2004), culture is an "organizing asset, a means of building a sense of power" (p. 18). Rivera and Erlich (1997) would seemingly agree, as they define culture as influencing multiple facets of community organizing: (a) community members' interaction with each other and the external community, (b) community members' conceptualizations of power, (c) the mechanisms through which power relationships are manifested, (d) processes of developing critical consciousness and empowerment, (e) the relevant community vehicles for fostering empowerment, and (f) community members' view of their situation. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A Critique of Rothman's and Other Standard Community Organizing Models: Toward Developing a Culturally Proficient Community Organizing Framework
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.