Call For Papers - Community Development and Health Equity
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Call For Papers - Community Development and Health Equity

Special issue of the Community Development Journal

Special issue editors:
Thara Raj, UK
Jennie Popay, Lancaster University, UK
Rebecca Mead, Lancaster University, UK
Aylish MacKenzie, UK

Scope, relevance and significance of the proposed theme:
Around the world inequalities in life expectancy, in chronic conditions and in wellbeing are widening. The COVID-19 pandemic has made these inequalities more visible and exacerbated them. In all countries, actions by communities of interest and place have been central to the pandemic response. In the future community development and/or empowerment approaches have a key role to play in supporting more effective community action to ensure that the recovery process addresses the social inequalities driving health inequalities. However, if these benefits are to be maximised the theory and praxis of contemporary community development and empowerment approaches in the health field need to be opened up to challenge and debate.

The WHO’s commission on social determinants of health, contributed to a hugely influential international public health research and practice movement for greater health equity. Community approaches are prominent in this movement, but they are dominated by an assets-based model that is increasingly restricted to an inward gaze on community psychosocial capacities and proximal neighbourhood conditions. Recovery from COVID-19 will continue unequally across the globe, following the same fault lines that create and sustain existing inequities in health outcomes, unless the recovery process reduces social inequalities. If community development is to contribute to this we need to utilise a more radical body of knowledge and practice. This might include drawing on approaches from beyond the community development field that incorporate related forms of community action, social participation, empowerment and activism.

When reflecting on the pandemic, we can critique the missed opportunity for an inclusive community development approach to decision-making which could have lessened the wider impacts of COVID-19. It has been commonly recognised that the crisis management approach has led to severe decline in mental, social and, physical health and we need to explore how communities of interest and/or place can begin to heal. This special issue intends to interrogate how in the future as countries recover from the pandemic community development and related approaches can contribute to greater social and health equity by involving communities in the decisions that affect their lives.

The goal of this special issue of the Community Development Journal is therefore to bring together contributions from researchers and practitioners from around the world exploring the potential for community development and similar approaches to achieving greater health equity. Contributions can focus on theory and/or practice grounded in community based approaches that foreground an outward gaze on political and social transformation for greater social and health equity.

We seek submissions of papers that are critical in nature and which can demonstrate learning that can be applied across different geographies locally, nationally and internationally. Papers do not need to be about Covid-19. Papers can be theoretical and/or empirical and should present original work that has not previously been published. Papers with case studies are welcome.

A focus on the structural inequalities that drive health inequalities will be central to all contribution. Topics that could be covered include (but are not limited to):
- Power and community development
- Radical assets-based approaches to community development
- Community approaches in contemporary policy
- Co-production, alliances, coalitions and partnerships
- Ethical considerations
- Critique of lifestyle-based approaches within community development

Potential contributors should send an abstract of up to 500 words with a title, an outline of the rationale, scope and content of the article to arnithararaj [AT] yahoo [DOT] com by 26th May 2022 with the subject heading CDJSpecialIssue23.

The name of the author(s) should be supplied, including full contact details.

Abstracts will be reviewed by the Special Issue team, and potential contributors notified by 30 June 2022.

Full articles
Shortlisted authors will be invited to submit their first full version by 30th November 2022. Submissions should follow the journal’s style guidelines, which can be found here:

If your abstract is shortlisted, this does not guarantee publication of the article in the special issue. Submissions will be refereed in the usual way, which means some may be rejected and some may require revisions. We will endeavour to place all accepted articles in the special issue, but if this is full, then some articles may be placed in another issue of the journal. Decision for inclusion will fall to the editors of this special issue. Translation into English of the manuscript should be taken care of by the author.

Papers should be between 5,000 and 7,000 words and should not exceed 7,000 words.

Time Scale:
26th May 2022: 500 word abstract/proposal outline due
30th June 2022: Abstracts reviewed and potential authors notified
30th November 2022: First full version of paper to be submitted
1st December 2022 to 28th April 2023: Review process
Final publication – TBC