The “customer” metaphor

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

Chris Corrigan offers an eloquent challenge to the notion of citizens as “customers”.

Communities are not strategic entities with goals and mission statements – what is the the strategic objective of your neighbourhood? So much community planning confuses processes and measures aimed at organizational efficiency and applies them to community building. The purposes are different. The purpose of community is belonging happiness, a sense of security, wellbeing, resiliance. Communities are not efficient, they are not a good use of resources, they do not exhibit directionality.

I’ve got a friend working in social care who has similar issues with the ubiquitous term “service user” to describe those he works with. There’s something about this kind of language that seems to ignore the humanity of all involved.

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