Critical Community Practice


Critical community practice implies a particular vision of society: one grounded in the ideals of social justice, social inclusion, self-determination, solidarity, and collective wellness (Butcher, 2007b; Kagan & Burton 2001; Prilleltensky, 2001; Weil, 1996). Critical community practice is "action based on critical theorizing, reflection, and a clear commitment to working for social justice through empowering and transformative practice" (Henderson, 2007, p. 1). This approach to practice works under the assumption that social transformation is possible when people have a voice, power, and access to resources (Prilleltensky & Nelson, 2002). It is grounded in an understanding that the roots of most community problems lie in patterns of systemic poverty, disadvantage, social exclusion and oppression that are manifestations of structural inequalities and social divisions within society as a whole (Butcher, 2007a). Critical community practice is a radical praxis (Freire 1970) wherein action, research and theory are intertwined in complex ways, and grounded in a deep understanding of the experiences of those who are marginalized, oppressed and distressed (Kagan & Burton, 2001). 

Books & Chapters

Butcher, S. Banks, P. Henderson, & J. Robertson (2007)(Eds.) Critical Community Practice. Briston, UK: Policy Press.

Butcher, H. (2007). What is critical community practice? Cases studies and analysis. In H. Butcher, S. Banks, P. Henderson, & J. Robertson (Eds.) Critical Community Practice, (pp 33-49). Briston, UK: Policy Press.

Fox, M., Mediratta, K., Ruglis, J., Stoudt, B., Shah, S., & Fine, M. (2010). Critical youth engagement: Participatory action research and organizing. In L. R. Sherrod, J. Torney-Purta, & C. A. Flanagan (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Civic Engagement in Youth (pp. 621-649). Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley.

Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Continuum.


Fox, D. (2011). Reflections on occupying. Journal for Social Action in Counseling and Psychology, 2011, 3, 129-137

Kagan, C., & Burton, M. (2001). Critical Community Psychology Praxis for the 21st Century. Presented at the British Psychological Society Conference, Glasgow. Retrieved from

Prilleltensky, I. (2001). Value-Based Praxis in Community Psychology: Moving Toward Social Justice and Social Action. American Journal of Community Psychology, 29(5), 747-778.

Prilleltensky, I., & Prilleltensky, O. (2003). Towards a Critical Health Psychology Practice. Journal of Health Psychology, 8(2), 197 -210.

Weil, M. O. (1996). Community Building: Building Community Practice. Social Work, 41(5), 481-499.