Seven theories for seven community developers

Ronald J. Hustedde

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Community developers need theories to help guide and frame the complexity of their work. However, the field is girded with so many theories from various disciplines that it is difficult for practitioners to sort through them. Although many undergraduate and graduate community development programs have emerged in North America and throughout the world, there is no fixed theoretical canon in the discipline. This chapter focuses on the purpose of theory and the seven theories essential to community development practice. Why seven theories? In Western cultures, seven implies a sense of near completeness. There are seven days in a week, seven seas, seven climate zones, and seven ancient and modern wonders of the world. Rome was built on seven hills. While seven may or may not be a lucky number, seven theories are offered as a theoretical core for those who approach community development from at least seven contextual perspectives: organizations; power relationships; shared meanings; relationship building; choice making; conflicts; and integration of the paradoxes that pervade the field. Hence, the chapter's title: "Seven Theories for Seven Community Developers." It is a potential canon for practitioners.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAn Introduction to Community Development
Subtitle of host publicationSecond Edition
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781134482320
StatePublished - Nov 26 2014


  • Agency building
  • Conflict theory
  • Power
  • Shared meaning
  • Social action
  • Social capital theory
  • Solidarity
  • Structural functionalism
  • Structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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