The changing face of community participation: the Liverpool black experience (PLA 58).

Journal (part) article
PDF (80.18 KB)
Published: June 2008
Participatory Learning and Action
Product code:G02865
Source publication:
Participatory Learning and Action 58 Towards empowered participation: stories and reflections

Guest editors: Tom Wakeford and Jasber Singh. To read the full table of contents please click on ‘More information’ above.

The city of Liverpool has the longest established black community in Britain, concentrated in the Toxteth area, where ‘community participation’ long been a reaction to racism or a fight for better services. The author’s first experience of community mobilisation came in the early 1970s, when police failed to protect black residents on a new housing estate, and this led to campaigns for black studies and the formation of the Liverpool Black Organisation in 1976. However, after the Toxteth riots of 1981, which were the culmination of all the frustrations experienced by the black community, particularly in regard to police and community relations – the face of community participation was set to change. As government agencies concentrated on regeneration and economic initiatives, community participation was now in the hands of civil servants and those employed to bring about ‘consultation’. Grassroots action was slowly eroded as the community was broken up and dispersed, and government agencies now direct ‘community participation’ in the city.

Keywords: community activism.

Participatory Learning and Action (PLA, formerly PLA Notes) is the world's leading series on participatory learning and action approaches and methods. PLA publishes articles on participation aimed at practitioners, researchers, academics and activists. All articles are peer-reviewed by an international editorial board. See:

Cite this publication

Clay, D. (2008). The changing face of community participation: the Liverpool black experience (PLA 58).. .
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