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Re-examining the Settlement House Tradition of People-Centred Approach: Case studies of two North American Cities Miu Chung YAN, PhD. Assistant Professor.

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Presentation on theme: "Re-examining the Settlement House Tradition of People-Centred Approach: Case studies of two North American Cities Miu Chung YAN, PhD. Assistant Professor."— Presentation transcript:

1 Re-examining the Settlement House Tradition of People-Centred Approach: Case studies of two North American Cities Miu Chung YAN, PhD. Assistant Professor University of British Columbia School of Social Work

2 Background Is community lost, saved, or liberated (Smith, 1996, p. 235) or even collapsed (Putnam, 2000)? The cosmopolitan condition of most urban centres has made people strangers to their fellow residents (Appiah, 2006). Yet, on the other hand, peoples everyday life is still primarily grounded in the local community (or more specifically the neighbourhood) in which they live and pursue their dream (Keller, 2003).

3 Recapitulation of the People Centredness of Settlement Houses 1 Toynbee Hall in 1884 by Reverend Samuel Barnett in Londons East End. Social experiment of the Social Gospel ideal of lifting people to a higher civic and spiritual level through socially cohesive and unified community (Arneil, 2006; Meagham, 1987). Toynbee Hall was established as a machinery of connection to connect people in the community for the common good (Meagham, 1987).

4 Recapitulation of the People Centredness of Settlement Houses 2 Jane Addams (1999): the whole philosophy of the settlement house movement as solidarity of human races which she elaborated as the way in which he [sic] connects with his [sic] fellows; that his [sic] motives for action are the zeal and affection with which he [sic] regards his [sic] fellows (p.95). SH widely known as Neighbourhood Houses/Centres extended all over the world.

5 The Studies San Francisco: Neighbourhood Centre (N=8), 1890 Telegraph Hill Vancouver: Neighbourhood Houses (N=9), 1938 Alexandra/Gordon Houses Participatory and multi-method approach – Individual interview (EDs, Key informants, CD workers, Board Members) – Focus group (Vancouver, Frontline and Board) – Survey (Vancouver)

6 As a machinery of connecting people, how do NH/Cs build community? 1. Flexible services for people of all age groups 2. A natural hub of community building 3. Community cultural events 4. Volunteering as community building 5. Coalition building and coordination

7 Discussion Lack of social recognition – fragmented funding and over-reliance on the state funding Service users as volunteers = the first step toward participation in their community. Still the most effective machinery to connect people in the fragmented, imagined, fluid community – Putnam, Husock, Giddens East European experience China: Community Construction


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