Part Six: Using the Arts and the Internet as Tools for Community Organizing and Community Building
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PART SIX The past two decades have seen the application of many innovative new tools and approaches that have enriched community building and organizing; some of these, such as user-friendly approaches to neighborhood indicator development and digital technologies for community mapping, are discussed in earlier chapters and in the appendix. In this part, we focus in more detail on two such approaches that have particular potency for enhancing community building and organizing and reaching new and expanded populations with our work. The Internet, and particularly the advent of the more interactive “Web 2.0” (O’Reilly 2005; Daniels 2011), with social media such as Facebook, have profoundly transformed many aspects of our lives, and also the ways in which we define and build communities and engage in organizing for health, welfare, and social change (Kanter and Fine 2010; Kaplan and Haenlein 2010). In chapter 15, Nickie Bazell Satariano and Amanda Wong provide a wide-ranging look at Internet support for community assessment, advocacy, and organizing and the special role of social media, such as Facebook and YouTube, in supporting and facilitating such work. They offer a wealth of short examples to illustrate the points being made, as well as a more detailed case study of how one organization, Collaborating Agencies Responding to Disasters (CARD), was able to greatly increase its impact and reach through Using the Arts and the Internet as Tools for Community Organizing and Community Building embracing early on, and then continually expanding, its Internet presence and active engagement online. This chapter also provides a hypothetical case study of an organization whose mission is the prevention and early treatment of hepatitis B in Asians and Pacific Islanders who have disproportionately high rates of this condition. This hypothetical case also helps us visualize how our own organizations or causes, which are not yet taking full advantage of the Internet in their work, may benefit from including a diversified online strategy as part of their broader operations. A number of Internet tools of particular use to organizers and community builders are highlighted in this chapter. They include the Community Tool Box (http://ctb.ku.edu) and Smart Chart 3.0 (http://smartchart.org), which demonstrate how the Internet provides access to a plethora of tools for help in growing new communities, advocating for your cause, and providing important sustainability resources. But as Bazell Satariano and Wong are careful to note, “netroots” organizing cannot and should not replace the interpersonal “real world” connections and community work that remain the heart and soul of effective community building and organizing practice. Sounding a theme that is repeated in chapter 22, they argue that online organizing and community building must be part of a larger strategy, without which their utility is severely limited. Finally, they note other challenges in this work, including the shrinking but still not insignificant digital divide that continues to limit online access in many communities. If the Internet represents one of our most recent tools for advocacy and community building and organizing, using the arts as a vehicle for such works remains among the oldest. Yet texts on community organizing tend largely to overlook the potential—and the impressive track record—of the arts for building community and promoting social change. In chapter 16, Marian McDonald, Caricia Catalani, and Meredith Minkler examine the arts, including some new media art forms, as a vehicle for social change, their import in social movements nationally and internationally, and the theoretical bases for using the arts to stimulate community organizing and community building. When used by and with communities, the arts are seen as promoting organizing for health and welfare through a wide variety of often interrelated means, including getting people involved, facilitating assessment, promoting healing and community building, and offering culturally sensitive approaches to USING THE ARTS AND THE INTERNET 266 addressing health disparities. Using case studies, including the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt; a Latino youth arts project in Greater New Orleans (McDonald et al. 2006–2007); and the Clothesline Project, which promotes awareness of violence against women and children, McDonald and her colleagues vividly illustrate the power of art in community building and organizing. The chapter then turns to photovoice and videovoice—processes through which groups are given still cameras or video cameras and trained to use them to capture and reflect on strengths and concerns in their lives and communities, and as a basis for critical dialogue and subsequent action (Wang 1999; Catalani et al. 2012). Of particular interest...


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Subject Headings

  • Health promotion.
  • Community health services -- Citizen participation.
  • Community organization.
  • Community development.
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