Sodium Haze: What is Community #2

Thursday, 26 May 2011

What is Community #2

So what is community?

A good definition of community can be found at the website (informal education - a very interesting idea in and of itself)

Common themes emerge.
Place. Territorial or place community can be seen as where people have something in common, and this shared element is understood geographically. Another way of naming this is as ‘locality’. This approach to community has spawned a rich literature – first in ‘community studies’ and more recently in locality studies (often focusing on spatial divisions of labour).

Interest. In interest or ‘elective’ communities people share a common characteristic other than place. They are linked together by factors such as religious belief, sexual orientation, occupation or ethnic origin. In this way we may talk about the ‘gay community’, the ‘Catholic community’ or the ‘Chinese community’. Development in what might be called the sociology of identity and selfhood have played an important role in ‘opening out the conceptual space within which non-place forms of community can be understood’ (Hoggett 1997: 7). ‘Elective groups’ and ‘intentional communities’ (ranging, according to Hoggett op cit from cyber-communities to car-boot enthusiasts) are a key feature of contemporary life

Communion. In its weakest form we can approach this as a sense of attachment to a place, group or idea (in other words, whether there is a ‘spirit of community’). In its strongest form ‘communion’ entails a profound meeting or encounter – not just with other people, but also with God and creation. One example here would be the Christian communion of saints – the spiritual union between each Christian and Christ (and hence between every Christian). Another is Martin Buber’s interest in meeting and ‘the between’.
Now watch M.Scott Peck's 'Community Building' ruin this nice orderly idea!
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