community

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community

1. 
a. the people living in one locality
b. the locality in which they live
c. (as modifier): community spirit
2. a group of nations having certain interests in common
3. (in Wales since 1974 and Scotland since 1975) the smallest unit of local government; a subdivision of a district
4. Ecology a group of interdependent plants and animals inhabiting the same region and interacting with each other through food and other relationships

Community

An interacting population of individuals living in a specific area with increased emphasis on sustainable building and sustainable development. Design and building-related practices enhancing and supporting community ideals and functions are considered more sustainable than those that do not, all else being equal.

community

Any set of social relationships operating within certain boundaries, locations or territories. The term (as used by both sociologists and geographers) has descriptive and prescriptive connotations in both popular and academic usage. It may refer to social relationships which take place within geographically defined areas or neighbourhoods, or to relationships which are not locally operative but exist at a more abstract, ideological level. For example, the term ‘lesbian community’ may refer to an actual settlement of women (e.g. ‘lesbian ghetto’, see E. Ettore, 1978), or it may refer to a collective of women sharing ideas and life styles, but not necessarily residing together in the same spatial area.

It has been suggested that the concept is one of the most difficult and controversial in modern society. Lowe (1986) suggests that it ‘ranks only with the notion of class in this respect’. It is certainly a term which has attracted many different interpretations and has been subjected to wide use and abuse.

In popular usage, the term has often been associated with positive connotations, as in the phrases ‘a sense of community’ or ‘community spirit’. It is clear that the term is not only descriptive, but also normative and ideological. Sociological discourse has often reinforced prescriptive usages of the term. Influenced by a tradition of 19th-century romanticism, some sociologists have regarded community as necessarily beneficial to human needs and social interaction. This tradition was particularly strong in the 19th century, but is by no means absent in 20th-century sociological thought.

In the 19th century, the German sociologist TÖNNIES drew a distinction between what he called GEMEINSCHAFT and GESELLSCHAFT. The former denoted community relationships which were characterized by their intimacy and durability: status was ascribed rather than achieved; and kin relationships took place within a shared territory and were made meaningful by a shared culture. Conversely, Gesellschaft gave rise to relationships which were impersonal, fleeting and contractual. Such relationships were both rational and calculative rather than affective: status was based on merit and was therefore achieved; and gesellschaftlich relationships were competitive and often characterized by anonymity and alienation. Tönnies believed that the processes of industrialization and urbanization would give rise to the destruction of gemeinschaftlich relationships and that gesellschaftlich relationships would consequently flourish. He was concerned by what he took to be the breakdown of traditional society, authority and the loss of community. In Tönnies’ work we can see the high value he implicitly placed on the old social order and his ambivalence towards industrialization and urbanization (compare SIMMEL). It is this romanticized view of traditional society’ that has given rise to the association of the concept of community’ with ideas of social support, intimacy and security Thus traditional communities have often been portrayed as close-knit and as facilitating cooperation and mutual aid between members. In contrast, the URBANIZATION process has been identified as destructive of both ‘community’ and communities. Research by Young and Willmott (1960) and Gans (1962) has, however, raised serious doubts about any such simple association between urbanization and ‘loss of community’.

Sociologists have usually been less concerned with categorizing and identifying the physical and geographical characteristics of communities than with examining the nature and quality of the social relationships sustained by them. Recent sociology has also been concerned with the analysis of community action and collective resistance to social problems (Castells, 1976).

Whatever the definitional difficulties, all communities, both real and symbolic, exist and operate within boundaries or territories. Boundaries serve to demarcate social membership from nonmembership. Communities may be seen to be inclusive of some people and social groups, but exclusive of others. In some cases, community boundaries are rigidly maintained (e.g. some religious communities), in others the boundaries are more fluid and open.

Worsley (1987) has suggested that, despite the difficulties involved in theorizing about ‘community’ and communities’, three broad meanings can be identified within sociological literature. The first he describes as ‘community as locality’. Here the interpretation of the term comes closest to its geographical meaning of a ‘human settlement within a fixed and bounded local territory’. Secondly, he suggests that ‘community’ has been used to denote a ‘network of interrelationships’ (Stacey, 1969). In this usage, community relationships can be characterized by conflict as well as by mutuality and reciprocity In the third usage, community can be seen to refer to a particular type of social relationship; one that possesses certain qualities. It infers the existence of a ‘community spirit’ or ‘community feeling’. This usage comes closest to a common-sense usage and does not necessarily imply the existence of a local geographical area or neighbourhood.

Community remains an important, if controversial, concept in sociology. See CHICAGO SCHOOL, COMMUNITY STUDIES, COMMUNITY CARE, COMMUNITARIANISM.

community

[kə′myü·nə·dē]
(ecology)
Aggregation of organisms characterized by a distinctive combination of two or more ecologically related species; an example is a deciduous forest. Also known as ecological community.

community

A group of people having common rights, privileges, or interests, or living in the same place under the same laws and regulations.
References in periodicals archive ?
"He openly incited communal hatred and violence by accusing one community of trying to physically eliminate the other with the objective of ethnic cleansing in the state," he said.
Samrith disputed the environment officials' claims that the communal land belonged to the protected Phnom Oral Wildlife Sanctuary, which is under the jurisdiction of the Environment Ministry.
Some 96 communal titles were issued, totalling 152,268 acres to 13,789 beneficiaries in 15 districts in Sabah since 2010.
The landlord is under a legal duty to pay the communal charges and this obligation is transferable to his tenant if the correct procedure is followed.
"If you live in one of these blocks, then the communal garden is your garden.
Acting swiftly, the state government has already released a fund of Rs3.6 million to be used for repairing mosques, madrasas and paying compensation to the victims of communal violence.
The fact that the riots started off a political rivalry indicates how much parties in India have unfortunately taken a communal and racial colour.
Mr Keorapetse had asked the minister to state the policy concerning the protection of customary communal rights on communal land in tribal areas and tribal territories.
Materno Luspian said the titles covered 60 hectares of land within the communal forest of Barangay Bulalacao, which serves as a water source for the villages of Bulalacao, Tabio and Poblacion.
The APHC Chairman said the communal forces in India, backed by the BJP-RSS government were hell bent upon implementing their agenda of cultural aggression in Jammu and Kashmir, which had remained their prime target.