community politics

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community politics

the political concerns generated by residence in a particular locality or place, and the relationship of residents with the central STATE.

Community politics often arise from local concerns with urban spaces, as workplaces, residences and living areas, and the politics of URBANIZATION. In this sense, the early sociological explanations of community politics can be found in the writings of TÖNNIES (1887) and SIMMEL (1903), both of whom offered a critique of the social and political effects of the transformation of Europe, both seeing the movement from rural to urban living as marked by increasing disengagement from both social and political life. Their ideas were developed by WIRTH (1938), who argued that certain social and political actions were characteristic of the city Wirth was a central figure in the CHICAGO SCHOOL, which developed a zonal model of the city. The overall approach became known as URBAN ECOLOGY. Its main assumption was that urban communities are organisms functioning according to laws which are different to those of the wider society The approach argues that urbanism and the politics of the community must be seen as a distinct way of life (see URBANISM AS A WAY OF LIFE).

Throughout the 1960s and 70s, there was a dramatic increase in community groups and COMMUNITY ACTION in the ‘inner cities’ of the UK and other industrial societies including the US and France. This was reflected in a growing interest in the POLITICAL ECONOMY of urbanization and community politics by several writers who sought to combine Marxism with a theory of the ‘social production’ and organization of space. Castells (1977,1978), for example, was concerned with the ‘urban problematic’: a series of everyday situations, housing, transport, redevelopment, the distribution of ethnic groups, the provision of shopping and recreation facilities. All of these areas Castells calls a structured social process. To understand this process, he suggested, it must be related to the political economy of STATE CAPITALISM AND STATE MONOPOLY CAPITALISM. For Castells, urban politics will develop new directions as contradictions widen between society's productive capacity and its social capacity to use its productive capacity. Because of this, social protest groups involved in community action (which he terms URBAN SOCIAL MOVEMENTS) will increasingly challenge the established order through the ‘urban problematic’. Harvey (1973), however, has pointed out that problems commonly regarded as urban are not peculiar to the city but common to society and only made more manifest in urban settings. Within this approach to community politics, local issues, no matter how intensely felt or contested by local community groups, cannot be regarded as either local or urban. See also SECTORAL CLEAVAGES.

Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
References in periodicals archive ?
"If the object is to create a series of self-managed neighbourhoods with a genuine transfer of power to communities, it will only come about when the power structure is confronted through radical political action" - Community Politics, John Calder Ltd (Publishers), 1976.
The children Hurricane Katrina left behind; schooling context, professional preparation, and community politics.
Party President, Simon Hughes said: "We cannot persuasively preach community politics and fair political representation unless we practise it.
The party members in Trimdon have always done that brilliantly, and a lot of Tony's thinking about what a modern Labour Party should be like is based on our experience of community politics up there.
of Birmingham, UK) in order to comparatively analyze issues of housing and community politics in the United States and the United Kingdom.
"That says to us we need to make more efforts in our cities, get into community politics in our northern cities so we take the election result as a spur to more action in that area."
The Liberal politician won national renown for focusing on doorstep issues and community politics, earning him the nickname "Jones the Vote" and sweeping his party to power for the first time.
Young Alton was one of the Jones' boys, promoting'' community politics'', an extraordinary idea, which involved the politicians speaking to local people about their worries - from dim street lights to housing co-operatives.
This text helps school administrators to understand and better manage the local community politics that impact schools.
If Northern Ireland can start to pull it together - with their sad history of community politics, surely Birmingham can make it.
Coun Rice said: 'This would give the potential to re-engage community politics. We could eventually roll out parish councils across the whole of Birmingham.

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