Self-organization is organization launched by people (loosely or tightly) belonging together because of their neighbourhood, work, studies, interests, values or with respect to some cause, starting on its own, at the initiative of one or some of the stakeholders, and continuing without, or with little, help from a developer. Community activities therefore require large-scale contribution from the community itself.

When community development activities are interpreted as movements, what we mean is that good community development processes are local movements, in which more and more citizens becoming engaged look for ways to contribute to improving the community’s quality of life, establish their own institutions and shape structures for collaboration. In community development, new individuals and groups become engaged continuously, either as representatives of criticism or of new alternatives of the process, and these community participants continuously create new situations, modifying planning, decision-making and control mechanisms. The term movement is used in the sense of self-organizing community activities, which are in constant movement and change, constantly shifting emphasis, with the group of implementers also going through constant change. This is the sense in which the term movement is used in cultural and community cultural processes. Movements of self-organization, knowledge pools and the study groups that are built on them, courtesy services, volunteer services, movements of the community self-help system, but even movements related to local history, community decorating, environmental and nature protection or advocacy belong here. [1]

The launching of a self-organizing community activity, the initiative, can also be inspired and motivated through development work, for instance by encouraging people to explore and exchange local knowledge or to implement community help (see the entries for involvement and participation, community participation as well).


Vercseg, I.: Közösség és részvétel. A közösségfejlesztés és a közösségi munka gyakorlatának elmélete. [Community and Participation. A theory of the practice of community development and community work]. Budapest, a series by the Hilscher Rezső Socio-Political Association and the Department of Social Work and Social Policy of Eötvös Loránd University. 2011, Budapest
[1] Vercseg, I.: Közösségfejlesztő leckék kezdőknek és haladóknak. [Community building for beginners and professionals]. In: Parola booklets. 2004, Budapest, Hungarian Association for Community Development.

This article based on the following document: Community development methodological guide