Discourses shape perspectives and behaviours both within and beyond communities. A number of community development researchers have drawn attention to the growing influence of neo-liberal discourse over the way much community development is understood and practised. This article analyses one local community campaign to defend valued public infrastructure, the ongoing community campaign to ‘save’ Mayfield Swimming Pool in Newcastle, Australia. We draw on Fairclough's approach to critical discourse analysis to consider the ways in which the dominant neo-liberal discourse has both shaped and been challenged by this community campaign. Our analysis demonstrates (i) ways in which concrete community infrastructures are built on contingent, discursive foundations, and that (ii) dominant discourses which threaten the existence of community infrastructures may be effectively challenged, if not entirely displaced, by community-based counter-narratives.
Community Development Journal Vol. 49, Issue 2, p. 280-294