A very obvious example of this is the growth of ‘gated communities’ in the USA and UK. (1994) Democracy in America, London: Fontana Press. 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).
Here we will initially explore community in three different ways (after Willmott 1986; Lee and Newby 1983; and Crow and Allen 1995).
As: There is, of course, a strong possibility that these different ways of approaching community will also overlap in particular instances.
He argues that communities are best approached as ‘communities of meaning’.
In other words, ‘”community” plays a crucial symbolic role in generating people’s sense of belonging’ (Crow and Allan 1994: 6).
This, and the above discussion, leads us to three key questions: Cohen argues that ‘community’ involves two related suggestions that the members of a group have something in common with each other; and the thing held in common distinguishes them in a significant way from the members of other possible groups (Cohen 1985: 12).
Community, thus, implies both similarity and difference.
As such it may well be used to bring together a number of elements, for example, solidarity, commitment, mutuality and trust.
It comes close to the third of the ideals that were inscribed on many of the banners of the French Revolution – fraternity (the others, as you will most likely remember, were liberty and equality).
It is a relational idea: ‘the opposition of one community to others or to other social entities’ (op. This leads us to the question of boundary – what marks the beginning and end of a community?
Cohen’s argument is that boundaries may be marked on a map (as administrative areas), or in law, or by physical features like a river or road. However, not all boundaries are so obvious: ‘They may be thought of, rather, as existing in the minds of the beholders’ (Cohen 1985: 12).