This reflection explores the collision of anthropology and civic engagement, a combination that has come to define my senior research. My fieldwork at educational NGOs in Northern Richmond and Northern Ghana caused me to question the local relevancy of NGO management strategies. How can white, middle class teachers appropriately improve educational outcomes for low-income black students in Richmond? Is compulsory education appropriate training for Ghanaian farmers? Academic theories criticize “development” for furthering power against the oppressed, while the qualitative work of NGOs is quantified to fit the needs of grant writers. I find policy can never prescribe perfectly. In order for the management plans of educational NGOs to reflect local community perspective, teachers must self-identify as part of the community. My work as an ethnographer has caused me to reprioritize my identity as a citizen.
The debate among sociol'ts & pol'al sci'ts about community power structure was concerned primarily with questions of methodology & the appropriate imagery for describing the distribution of power in US communities. The question of what cliff it made for a local community & its citizens, if any, whether power was narrowly concentrated or widely dispersed, was seldom raised. 2 alternative hyp's relating the concentration of community power to community mobilization are discussed. The first argues for a positive relationship between concentration of power & community mobilization, while the 2nd argues the obverse of this hyp. A diffusion-of-power scale is constructed based on a content analysis of 31 Amer communities that were the subject of decision-making studies, & this scale is related to community participation in 4 federal self-help programs - public housing, Ur renewal, Model Cities, & the war on poverty. The results show that the cities in which power is most diffused have greater participation in these programs. An outline of some key concepts that may be most appropriate for explaining such findings is suggested. Modified HA.