Wednesday, March 30, 2005

What on earth is community?

Today, we were discussing about community a lot. But, I am still wondering what community is. I wrote something about community in a term paper. I'd like to cite a part of that and raise a question how to define community:
Nowadays, the concept of community is ubiquitous; people frequently prefer to use the term “community”rather than employ“neighborhood,”“organization,”“school,”“city,” “state”or even "the world.” This tendency demonstrates that “community” is a value-laden concept because it implies a perspective of human group life, in which a certain group of people share interdependency, mutual trust, and participation. This normative definition of human group life also reflects an orientation or a desire of many social scientists who pursue to discover potential of democratic society in a certain type of human group life while the concept of community is defined and employed for a variety of scopes and purposes. This assertion is supported by Shepherd and Rothenbuhler (2001); they found that many scholars tend to assume community to be good for having such values as tolerance and diversity.

I am thinking that community is a psychological term. It is a kind of mental boundary; it works as potential to live interdependent life. Therefore, it is normative. But, I am still not sure about my idea. Is there anyone to make it clear?

Reference: Shepherd, G. J., & Rothenbuhler, E. W. (2001). Communication and community. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.


Chris said...

If you have not already read Bender's Community & Social Change in America (1978) I think you would find it very helpful formulating a conceptual framework for analyzing community. Bender recommends thinking about community less in terms of place, and as a container, and more in terms of individual experience and the qualitative aspects of a particular social network.

umaysay said...

Thank you Chris!