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For some it might mean little more than a glorified reworking of the market.For others, it may be a powerful organizing ideal (such as those concerned with advancing the communitarian agenda).The reality of community, Cohen argues, lies in its members’ perception of the vitality of its culture (a significant element of this is what Putnam calls ‘social capital’ – see below).“People construct community symbolically, making it a resource and repository of meaning, and a referent of their identity’ (Cohen 1985: 118).contents: approaching the theory of community · community and boundary · community and network · community – norms and habits · social capital and community · communion and community · further reading · references · links · how to cite this article Since the late nineteenth century, ‘the use of the term community has remained to some extent associated with the hope and the wish of reviving once more the closer, warmer, more harmonious type of bonds between people vaguely attributed to past ages’ (Elias 1974, quoted by Hoggett 1997: 5). Galpin in relation to delineating rural communities in terms of the trade and service areas surrounding a central village (Harper and Dunham 1959: 19).
A physical barrier is erected to keep out, in this case, those who are poor or who are seen as a threat (Blakely and Snyder 1997).
Place and interest communities may well coincide – for example in the case of places where many of those who live there work in the same industry – such as was the case in ‘mining villages’.
Willmott (1989) argues that it is legitimate to add a third understanding of community – that of attachment – as communities of place or interest may not have a sense of shared identity. Cohen’s (1982; 1985) work around belonging and attachment is a great help in this respect.
The definition of ‘community’ or ‘communion’ can, thus, become an exclusionary act.
The benefits of belonging to a particular group are denied to non-members. The personal consequences of work in the new capitalism, New York: Norton.