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Theory for Community Practice in Social Work: The Example of Ecological Community Practice

Scholars in the field of community practice are taking a renewed interest in the cumulative process of research and theory construction. This work arises from reflections on the recent three decades of history in the discipline. In 1963, Roland Warren first published his theoretical framework for community development, which he called the action system, within an analysis of communities. In the field of community practice theory, Warren established the social systems perspective (1963). This perspective has not been widely referenced by subsequent authors in the community organization field, nor have writers or teachers in the last twenty-eight years attempted systematically to construct an alternative theoretical framework. The unspoken assumption appears to be that theory is not relevant to the design of effective community organizing practices.