Sociology Index


Community is a society where peoples relations with each other are direct and personal and where a complex web of ties link people in a social bond of emotion and obligation. In the social sciences, especially sociology, the idea of community has provided a model to contrast to the emergence of more modern less personal societies where cultural, economic and technological transformation has uprooted tradition and where complexity has created a less personal and more rationalized and goal-directed social life. Ferdinand Tonnies, in his 1887 work, "Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft", argued that "community" is perceived to be a tighter and more cohesive social entity within the context of the larger "society", due to the presence of a "unity of will." In a Collaborative Community, people must look beyond their jobs and take larger initiatives.

Beyond the diluted community concept: a symbolic interactionist perspective on online social relations - Jan Fernback, Temple University, USA. The study of cybercommunity and cyberculture is inevitably linked to the development of the internet amid  other cultural phenomena, and cybercommunity as a cultural practice has clearly reached a point of critical mass. The concept of online community has become increasingly diluted as it evolves into a pastiche of elements that ostensibly ‘signify’ community.

This study grapples with the concept of community in cyberspace-cybersociology and suggests alternative ways of characterizing online social relations that avoid the vagaries of community. Based on interviews and a theoretical consideration of online community, it finds that the metaphor of community in cyberspace is one of convenient togetherness without real responsibility. A symbolic interactionism approach to the examination of online social relationships that is free of the controversy and structural-functional baggage of the term ‘community’. It suggests that community is an evolving process, and that commitment is the truly desired social ideal in social interaction, whether online or offline.

What do we mean by our community? 
Kevin Partington, University of Southampton, UK. Journal of Intellectual Disabilities, Vol. 9, No. 3, 241-251 (2005).
For several decades, the disability movement has been working towards what has been variously termed community living, getting an ordinary life, community participation and inclusion. Presented as a major paradigm shift to community membership, the essential and overarching aim has been to create a community where people with disabilities and their families are fully accepted and afforded the same opportunities for participation as non-disabled people. This article suggests that the concept of social capital has the potential to generate improvements in health, education, community care, community regeneration and employment.