The concept of community as theoretical ground
contention and compatibility across levels of analysis and standpoints of social processes
This chapter provides an overview of the concept of community as a theoretical construct. The major theme of the chapter is that the concept of community provides a theoretical construct that is critical to understanding association among individuals and the linkages between the individual and society. Linking the experiential world of the individual to the abstraction of society and culture has been an enduring analytic and theoretical problem. Society, however influential on daily lives, is not readily perceived as an object or as context by individuals. And if these lines of influence lack experiential reality, then the processes by which individuals are integrated into society and culture are equally indefinite. The concept of community provides a theoretical counter to this ambiguity. Community is a tangible social and cultural milieu that is part of daily individual experience. It also provides an accessible unit for studying social processes. Here the spatial character of community becomes of central importance. For these reasons at least, community is an enduring focus in social theory. However, the nature of that focus reflects the underlying theoretical propositions about individuals' relationship with society at large. In this, the concept of community is used to support theories of social integration. This chapter summarizes these propositions about the concept of community in classic and contemporary theory and analysis. The chapter then discusses the application of these propositions about social integration to the concept of community in the coming century.
Irwin, M. D. (2016)., The concept of community as theoretical ground: contention and compatibility across levels of analysis and standpoints of social processes, in S. Abrutyn (ed.), Handbook of contemporary sociological theory, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 247-268.
This document is unfortunately not available for download at the moment.