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Journal of Community Practice
ISSN: 1070-5422 (Print) 1543-3706 (Online) Journal homepage:
Appreciating the Glocal in Community Practice
David P. Moxley PhD , Ann Rosegrant Alvarez PhD , Alice K. Johnson PhD &
Lorraine M. Gutiérrez PhD
To cite this article: David P. Moxley PhD , Ann Rosegrant Alvarez PhD , Alice K. Johnson PhD
& Lorraine M. Gutiérrez PhD (2005) Appreciating the Glocal in Community Practice, Journal of
Community Practice, 13:3, 1-7, DOI: 10.1300/J125v13n03_01
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Published online: 21 Sep 2008.
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Appreciating the Glocal
in Community Practice:
Camphill, Gaviotas and Intentional Community
“It’s what we call glocal, here at Camphill,” the man said to editor
Moxley. In the summer of 2004 Moxley was visiting Camphill Copake,
located a short distance from Albany, New York, nestled in the
Adirondacks and close to the Berkshire mountains. One of over 100
Camphills dotting the globe, this small intentional community of about
230 inhabitants offers support to people with cognitive disabilities, par
ticularly mental retardation. Founded over 40 years ago, Camphill
Copake is part of the movement to humanize the care and support of
people with mental retardation.
The history of the Camphill model is rich; with the template for the
Copake community transplanted from Scotland, it was built on the ideas
of Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophy. The members of the community
are villagers and co-workers, and the latter come from all over the globe
to work at Camphill Copake and to learn new ways of creating vital
Journal of Community Practice, Vol. 13(3) 2005
Available online at
2005 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1300/J125v13n03_01 1
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community by healing the earth, nurturing the earth, and nurturing
It is a remarkable community and the idea of intentional community
is instructive here for community practitioners of any background. The
members of the community come together intentionally, to support one
another, to nurture one another and the earth, and to make a life that af
firms positive values of humanism informed by a spirituality that cuts
across creed. The villagers, that is, the people who outside of the com
munity may be referred to as “mentally retarded,” and the co-workers,
those who commit to a life of vocation within the community, live side
by side, share the everyday responsibilities of community building, and
make a life rich with support and nurturing interactions. The rustic qual
ity of the community reflects a traditional European village of sorts,
with homes and communal facilities laid out in an arrangement to pro-
mote rich interaction, yet the layout of the village itself offers plenty of
space for solitude and contemplation. It is a community built mindful of
the human’s need for place and for appropriate scale. It is a community
in which environmental aesthetics are taken seriously. It is remarkable
that the community itself is less than an hour’s drive from Albany.
Mindful of the importance of quality of life, the members of Camphill
Copake weave social interaction, work, and spirituality into the fabric of
community life. Within their worldview, members refer to this weaving
as “three folding”: the interlacing of three essential components of com-
munity life to make a whole, a synthesis, if you will, one that infuses into
the village a coherent character. Everyone is instrumental to community
life–and everyone has a responsibility for contributing. Workshops dot
the community and villagers and co-workers work together to craft cre
ative products whether this involves furniture, candles, bookbinding, or
cloth. While work is central to community life, villagers and co-workers
are mindful of the importance of social support and social interaction; rit
ual, ceremony, and celebration serve important functions within the vil
lage, and through their articulation across seasons respect for place and
the cycle of nature are deep. Culture also is central: music, movement,
dance, song, concerts, and lectures strengthen community life and give it
emotional and intellectual resonance. The community epitomizes the
beauty Schumacher (1999) found in the small.
The glocal is very real for this small community. It is international in
its membership, drawing co-workers from Asia, Europe and the Ameri
cas. Many different cultural traditions intersect within the village but
they all affirm the importance of three folding. Spirituality is quite di
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verse within the village and, while many of the community members
practice Christianity, still others pursue their own beliefs. What is cen
tral, however, is that the human being is both part of the earth and the
cosmos. Work comes naturally to this international community since
the members share common interests in working the earth and using its
products yet acting carefully to preserve nature as an enabling force in
each and every aspect of the community. Inextricably linked to the web
of sociability is the cycle of production and consumption. Members are
mindful of the critical importance of the fruits of their work: the Chamo
mile members’ harvest in the healing plant garden will be taken to be
dried and processed at a workshop and then converted to tea that house
holds will likely find served during a meal. This example multiplied a
hundred times forges a strong connection between the social and the
economic for this small village. “I make this food. My friend makes this
food. We are part of a cycle linked to nature and to the earth.”
The deep ecology this village struggles with is yet another example
of the glocal. The village itself considers its principal purpose as “heal-
ing the earth,” and it is very mindful of the interface between growing
and producing and the effluent. The community is very mindful of its
imprint on the earth and there is deep concern with harmonizing the
principal functions of community life (e.g., housing construction) with
the limitations of the physical world. The community strives for a shal-
low footprint.
Combining this local sustainability with global sustainability creates
what one member called “the glocal.” While local, Camphill is mindful
of its global responsibilities. It is a citizen of the world. Community
members are deeply concerned about the world. Camphill translates this
concern into its local practice.
There are other exemplars of the intentional community from around
the world. One very interesting example is Gaviotas, located northeast
of Bogotá in the savanna of Colombia, a community founded almost
forty years ago to build and sustain “peace and prosperity.” The found
ers chose one of the most arduous areas of the world located in a country
strained by years of political turmoil. From their perspective, if inten
tional community could thrive in such a place, it could thrive anywhere.
Gaviotas brought together a unique constellation of people: scientists,
artists, peasants, ex-street kids, and native people who collaborate on the
From the Editors 3
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invention of appropriate technologies like pumps, solar collectors, soil
free systems of crop production, and wind turbines. Intentionality is ap
parent in the formation and perpetuation of this community. Through the
leadership of insightful people, perhaps visionaries, to cite Weisman’s
(1995) characterization of the founders, Gaviotas is an expression of a
faith in humanity to live in partnership with nature and with one another,
and to create a place to nurture diversity.
Like Camphill, Gaviotas folds together essential aspects of a good
community. The glocal is apparent in Gaviotas: local community builds
capacities in response to global exigencies. The glocal recognizes that
local place is part of the global and that the global is a composite of local
places. Place brings people together into concerted effort and serves as
the crucible of social invention. They are both examples of civil society
relevant to global citizenship and capture what Perlas (2000) means by
the creation of a deep community culture.
Intentional community is an interesting construct. Many examples of
intentional community populate western and other histories. Com-
munes, syndicates, and villages intentionally founded to express certain
values or to escape oppressive social or political conditions enacted ex-
periments in community life, many of which simply foundered or disap-
peared after their founders passed on. Intentional community, some
may say, has always been the building blocks of any society, particu-
larly ones in which people are searching to express their own values. To
be sure, Camphill and Gaviotas are certainly expressions of such a
movement. And perhaps they are expressions of yet another era of in
tentional community: one recognizing, however, the necessity to situate
the development of human community within the requirements of
place, and one respectful of nature as both finite and infinite whose re
sources are easily diminished through human exploitation, and whose
resources are sustainable through “right” human practice.
Both Camphill and Gaviotas also add something new to the idea of
intentional community. Good communities can incorporate consider
able diversity. For Camphill mental retardation does not really exist:
people are people and all people can make vital contributions to com
munity life. For Gaviotas, street children, castaways in the urban cities,
become vital members of community life. It is this personalization that
creates a distinctive community ethos. Combined with the idea that hu
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mans must “heal the earth” it beacons a new form of community
The articles composing this issue of the Journal of Community Prac
tice suggest the glocal. Finn’s paper on La Victoria captures how a par
ticular poor sector of Santiago, Chile crafts its own rich life through the
orchestration of meaning, power, context, history and possibility.
Finn’s story of this community offers a portal through which to appreci
ate the author’s framework of just practice. Chile is undergoing tremen
dous transformation and like other countries is struggling with the local
and global. Finn offers us inspiration for how to practice in a just man-
ner and how to produce just outcomes in situations of social transforma-
tion. The glocal is happening in La Victoria.
And so we find the glocal in the paper authored by Rogge and her col-
leagues. “Leveraging environmental, social, and economic justice at
Chattanooga Creek,” speaks to the importance of folding together all of
the dimensions of healthy community. A good community produces a
healthy and sustainable environment, social support, and viable eco-
nomic possibilities for all. The issues and challenges Chattanooga
Creek faces are like those La Victoria faces and we appreciate how the
“production” of justice is central to the well-being of both communities.
Finn and Rogge and her colleagues offer a broad and encompassing per
spective on justice. Indeed, it is very broad and such an encompassing
perspective means that justice comes in many dimensions. These two
papers drive this message home.
Readers will find expressions of the glocal in the paper authored by
Tomkins and his colleagues. This important paper focuses on the idea of
partnerships and local connections between human services, United
Way, and the civic engagement responsibilities of a research university.
Most large research universities increasingly are global in their orienta
tion and foci. But Tomkins and his colleagues point out that the local pos
sesses global significance and that the partnership itself aligns instit-
utional social responsibilities (whether those of the university or the
United Way) with local action. These authors bring the idea of partner
ship and collaboration into clear focus and help readers better understand
how civic engagement can foster the glocal.
From the Editors 5
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Perhaps one of the most dramatic examples of the glocal lies in the
paper authored by Xu, Gao, and Yan who write about the emergence of
community centers in urban China. China is a stark example of the
global given the extent to which it is restructuring its institutions to fit
international markets. The great economic transformation China is ex
periencing is restructuring every institution and as this country em
braces the market, social welfare is moving out of large state-owned
firms into new community institutions, one of which is the community
center. Glocal? The workers of China are increasingly involved in
global labor and their social welfare needs will be met through new lo
cal institutions situated in local urban communities. The authors of this
paper help us understand the seemingly paradoxical nature of the glocal
where local social welfare seeks to address the consequences of a new
capitalism that is global in its reach.
Ager’s paper crosses a critical divide: that between community con-
tent and clinical practice. Social work itself must address the glocal
within its own disciplines since the profession itself is addressing the
impact of globalization on communities, families, and households. The
globalization of work, the international migration of viruses, and the
mobilization of the military create numerous consequences within local
communities for the organization and delivery of health and human
Local communities shocked by global events, and families and indi-
viduals who are reeling from the consequences of globalization illumi-
nate the importance of the glocal. Increasingly, community and clinical
practitioners may find themselves working together on local responses
to global issues and such collaboration may demonstrate new possibili
ties for glocal social work. Together community practice and interper
sonal practice can invent what Solnit (2004) refers to as “hope in the
The reflective essay by Lucas and the book reviews show the diver
sity of community practice. They support the editors’ quest to amplify
this diversity and the broad countenance of community practice. Lucas
helps us to better understand the transformation of human service man
agement and its sophistication in a world that demands the integration
of service provision, innovation, fund development and resource man
agement, and organizational development within administration and the
administrator. The book reviews themselves illustrate the many facets
of community practice: the nonprofit sector and its development, com
munity organization, social policy and social development, and com
munity mobilization. The book reviews in this issue implicate the
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importance of the glocal in community practice: while community prac
tice largely focuses on the local, increasingly it involves social
development in contexts of diversity.
The editors are very pleased with this issue. We hope you find con
tent useful for your practice, teaching, and professional development.
And, we hope you will stop for a moment and contemplate the glocal in
your own world and in your own practice. Emerging before us may be a
new way of thinking about social work and community practice: glocal
practice framed by broad global issues that induce local consequences,
that shape local possibilities to inspire global institutions, and that cre
ate new relationships among places across the globe. The papers within
this issue as the papers of other issues contribute much to the possibili-
ties and potential of the glocal. That is, as Korten (1998) argues: to
globalize civil society.
David P. Moxley, PhD
Ann Rosegrant Alvarez, PhD
Alice K. Johnson, PhD
Lorraine M. Gutiérrez, PhD
Korten, D. C. (1998). Globalizing civil society: Reclaiming our right to power. NYC:
Seven Stories Press.
Perlas, N. (2000). Shaping globalization: Civil society, cultural power, and
threefolding. Saratoga Springs, NY: GlobeNet3.
Schumacher, E. F. (1999). Small is beautiful: Economics as if people mattered. Van
couver, BC: Hartley & Marks.
Solnit, R. (2004). Hope in the dark. New York: Nation Books.
Weisman, A. (1995). Gaviotas: A village to reinvent the world. White River Junction,
VT: Chelsea Green.
From the Editors 7
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... Engaging with our global frame of reference can create a "glocal" perspective that recognizes the integration of "local" and "global" conditions and can shape how we think about issues and provide us with different tools for organizing (Moxley, Alvarez, Johnson, Gutiérrez, 2005). This issue contributes to our understanding of glocality with articles reflecting community practice in Northern Ireland, Costa Rica, England, and the United States. ...
Communities face “glocalized” ecosocial problems. Functional Community Organization bridges local problems with globalized issues, organizes community, and meets need. Models describe glocal linkages and their outcomes, but little is known of processes and challenges in organizing. This article qualitatively explores ecosocial organizing challenges in a Community Technology Center in a US city, which organized around e-waste and digital inequality. Findings indicate that Functional Communities may face challenges in organizing aims due to complexities in balancing need while concurrently addressing global problems and issues in structure, funding, and process. This may be mitigated through communication, focus, self-awareness, and reflexivity.
Full-text available
Social workers are actively engaging in the practice of interdisciplinary community collaboration (ICC) with the goal of bringing diverse groups together to improve the conditions of communities and enhance the quality of life of population groups. Yet, collaborations are challenging and require great skill and commitment. The pedagogy and the content of curricula have become a more prominent part of teaching to macro practice students and practitioners the art of effectively convening and moving collaborative efforts forward. This article adds to the literature on the content and methods of teaching students and novice practitioners the competencies embedded in ICC. It provides empirical data from six focus groups of experienced community practitioners (social workers and others) in New York City who identified components of a core curriculum for this work. Eight months later, these 33 community practitioners were asked to reprioritize the topics and concepts that they had collectively identified at the earlier time. Skills such as the ability to share power, manage differences, include the constituency and diplomacy are among those discussed. Core curriculum themes, the pedagogy and process, and the attributes and values necessary for training an ICC practitioner are presented.
Incluye bibliografía Experiencia en la sabanas de Colombia de un grupo formado por indios guahibos, artesanos, técnicos, campesinos y otras personas visionarias en un desarrollo ecológico llamado Gaviotas. El autor hace el relato de las experiencias de tres décadas de este grupo.
Shaping globalization: Civil society, cultural power, and threefolding Small is beautiful: Economics as if people mattered
  • N Perlas
Perlas, N. (2000). Shaping globalization: Civil society, cultural power, and threefolding. Saratoga Springs, NY: GlobeNet3. Schumacher, E. F. (1999). Small is beautiful: Economics as if people mattered. Van-couver, BC: Hartley & Marks.
Shaping globalization: Civil society, cultural power, and threefolding
  • N Perlas
Perlas, N. (2000). Shaping globalization: Civil society, cultural power, and threefolding. Saratoga Springs, NY: GlobeNet3.
Globalizing civil society: Reclaiming our right to power
  • D C Korten
Korten, D. C. (1998). Globalizing civil society: Reclaiming our right to power. NYC: Seven Stories Press.