Conceptualising Community Self-Help

  • Danny Burns
  • Colin C. Williams
  • Jan Windebank


We have much to say later about the ways in which community self-help is embedded in our society, and its importance to social relations. First, however, we must gain some clarity about exactly what we mean by community self-help. In this chapter, therefore, we begin by looking at the nature of the relationships that underpin such activity. In the first section, community self-help is seen to span a spectrum of activity ranging from work within the household to reciprocal exchange within the community. In the second section, we explore the range of different activities that these different types of self-help relate to. In the third section, the focus is on the organisational characteristics of community self-help — looking at what distinguishes this activity from work governed by the state and the market. The fourth section looks at the different roles community self-help performs within society.


Credit Union Domestic Labour Informal Work Reciprocal Exchange Informal Exchange 
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Copyright information

© Danny Burns, Colin C. Williams and Jan Windebank 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Danny Burns
    • 1
  • Colin C. Williams
    • 2
  • Jan Windebank
    • 3
  1. 1.University of the West of EnglandUK
  2. 2.University of LeicesterUK
  3. 3.University of SheffieldUK

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