Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC) are small communities of Christians organized by church workers seeking to transform the prevailing society into a more equitable and just society. The paper looks at an organized "scavenger" community located in an urban dump site. The untenable conditions of the site work against the organizers' intention to develop a self-sustaining community. Hence, they overemphasize income-generating strategies, instead of social transformation, because they must help to meet the basic needs of the residents. Unlike rural BECs which may opt to lessen their contact with the capitalist marketplace to develop more communal agrarian modes of practice, urban BECs may not so easily meet their daily subsistence needs outside the market system. This raises other questions: Are church-led and "bottom-up" initiatives enough without material support from the government? Is there a point at which capitalism becomes a sufficiently dominant ideology to render ineffective alternative courses of action, hence BECs become inadequate modes of intervention on behalf of the oppressed?
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Urban/Development| November 20 2007
"Beyond the Dumping Ground": A Critique of the Basic Ecclesial Community Model as a Strategy for Development in an Urban Site
The Department of Anthropology, California State University, San Bernardino
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Human Organization (1999) 58 (2): 153–160.
Kathy Nadeau; "Beyond the Dumping Ground": A Critique of the Basic Ecclesial Community Model as a Strategy for Development in an Urban Site. Human Organization 1 June 1999; 58 (2): 153–160. doi: https://doi.org/10.17730/humo.58.2.k766u176872127tw
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