John McKnight: Community and Its Counterfeits

     

Some radio series find their proper moment, others don't.  A broadcast might be a little too far ahead of the zeitgeist, or too far behind it.  But every once in a while one's timing is just right.  This series, broadcast in 1994, is an example,  and it became one of the most popular and widely appreciated things I ever did for Ideas.  It features John McKnight, a community organizer who then directed the programme in community studies at Northwestern  University's Center for  Urban Affairs, a department he had helped to create in 1969.   He has now retired from the university but remains active as a lecturer and animator.  You can follow his current activities at http://www.abundantcommunity.com/   This series lays out his thoughts on how  community is made and unmade, and I'm happy to say that the reaction it received encouraged him to collect some of his best papers and publish them as The Careless Society: Community and Its Counterfeits (Basic Books, 1995).  Credit for the title goes to my wife Jutta Mason, who pushed me to do these shows and then suggested a name for them....