ERIC Number: ED423055
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997
Reference Count: N/A
Culture and Power in Practice: Cultural Democracy and the Family Support Movement. Best Practices Project Commissioned Paper III.
Akinyela, Makungu M.
The Best Practices Project of the Family Resource Coalition of American (FRCA) began in 1991 with the aim of meeting the need for better definition and articulation of what constitutes best practice in family support programs. This monograph, the third in a series of four, reports on some of the ideas about cultural democracy which have generated debate, challenge, and change within the FRCA. Cultural democracy is an operational framework in which family support professionals actively seek to include the experiences, ideas, and practices of ethnic and language minority family members, practitioners, academics, and lay workers in family support policy implementation, program development, and service delivery. Rather than being a dispassionate study of the phenomenon of cultural diversity within the family support movement, this monograph is written from the perspective of the Latino and African-American Caucuses of the FRCA and reflects their concerns. It discusses issues that have significant impact on the unequal power and decision-making influence held by non-Euro-Americans in the national family support movement, including the assumption that minority advocates who promote culturally specific practices and models of family support are incompetent, and the general exclusion of the expertise and experience of minority professionals from such important policy-shaping arenas as significant professional journals, textbooks, publications, funding sources, and research institutions. Because cultural democracy is about power negotiation and equity in a multicultural society, there is also a brief discussion relating ethnic conflict between minority groups to family support issues and policy. Particular attention is paid to conflicts between African and Latino American communities. Drawing on reflections, interviews, and observations, six principles of cultural democracy in family support work are offered, and the process by which these principles were critiqued by Caucus members at the 1996 FRCA biennial conference is described. (Contains 17 references.) (EV)
Descriptors: Blacks, Family Programs, Hispanic Americans, Minority Groups, Policy Analysis, Policy Formation, Social Discrimination, Social Services, Social Workers
Family Resource Coalition of America, 20 North Wacker Drive, Suite 1100, Chicago, IL 60606; phone: 312-338-0900; fax: 312-338-1522.
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Administration for Children, Youth and Families, Washington, DC. Children's Bureau.
Authoring Institution: Family Resource Coalition, Chicago, IL.