Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)


Social Work


Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

First Advisor

Hubert Campfens

Advisor Role

Dissertation Supervisor


This study analyzes the principles and the practice of the concept of community participation. The purpose of research is to address the degree and manner of autonomy that can be exercised at the local community level and also what kind of participation should come from the state when communities are engaged with the state in a community participation process. The methodology of qualitative nature, is a case study of the Sudbury Better Beginnings, Better Futures Associations. An analysis of the public documents comparing the state and the Sudbury Association’s position on community participation principles is portrayed before performing an analysis on the implementation strategies used by the Sudbury Better Beginnings, Better Futures Association. The conceptual framework provides an argument for more direct democracy and addresses six concepts: community, community development, community organization, social development, adult education, and community economic development; which are used to delimit the concept of community participation. Two models of citizen participation (Arnstein, 1969; Bregha, 1973) are then used to gauge the level of true participation achieved by the Sudbury Better Beginnings, Better Futures model. In the discussion, the concept of “social relations” (Ng et al., 1990) is introduced to further complement the findings achieved with the conceptual framework of the study. The concept of social relations accentuates the importance of everyday work and life activities of community members as contributing factors important to the larger social, political and economic context of our society. Finally, arguments are presented in favour of the concept of communitarianism as a means to achieve more direct democracy in a partnership with the state.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season