Using Conflict to Build Community: Community Conferencing

Lauren Abramson and Elizabeth Beck

in Social Work and Restorative Justice

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780195394641
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199863365 | DOI:
Using Conflict to Build Community: Community Conferencing

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This chapter describes how a restorative process called community conferencing combined with a traditional community organizing effort transformed a neighborhood. The strengths and limitations of community conferencing are explored. The case study involves a seemingly intractable conflict involving football playing in a Baltimore neighborhood. The conflict which is described in the chapter led to a community conference that led to the creation of a football league and ultimately the transformation of a neighborhood. The chapter covers the history, principles, and practice skills associated with community conferencing. It suggests that community conferencing can be an important tool for addressing a conflict and is a very strong complement to traditional community practice interventions. The chapter further purports that community conferencing can be an effective strategy to support the development of collective efficacy, a condition that has been found to reduce crime, as neighbors know each other, share values, and are willing to intervene in neighborhood problems.

Keywords: community practice; conflict transformation; community conferencing; neighborhood organizing; community organizing; collective efficacy; Baltimore

Chapter.  11559 words. 

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