Community and Social Theory

The penchant of community has been the backbone of America since colonial times. Community theory is a group or gathering of people collectively working together sharing a common bond through experience, social, spiritual and mutual support of each other. Alexis De Tocqueville an author who visited colonial America in 1831 doing research on the rising social standards stated “it was the Americans’ propensity for civic association and unprecedented ability to make democracy work”. Commitment to the community is based off of mutual services that are provided; made up of trust, reciprocity and goodwill. Along with this is an intentional purpose that recreates a responsible and caring society. What happens then is the creation of hospitals, city parks and community centers. With mutual support of each other the community grows, finds expression and activities are enacted and followed through.

Social theory or social capitol is a theoretic framework used to study and interpret social phenomenon. It is described in the book as intangible- only felt in the true presence of relationships between persons. It too, is based on trust, cooperation and the generosity of the community. Social capitol means that people work together to accomplish a goal that was once an individual concern and is now the by-product of a shared on going or finished activity. When the community cares about something they come together in like-mindedness invoking energy, commitment and emotion to finish and accomplish a task.

Also involved in social capitol is information and trustworthiness. When information is shared it creates obligation-thus it benefits other individuals who may not have had access to that prior information so they and organizations are now involved and it becomes a network. Networks continue through stable reoccurring interactions and the web continues to grow and expand. The strong bond of community, networking and social capitol and the commitment to each will continue to strengthen and renew a more equitable society.

One thought on “Community and Social Theory

  1. Marjorie McLellan

    The way that we use community is often ambiguous. Do we mean, for example, a community of place like a neighborhood or a community based on shared experience, culture, or interests? Is it an inclusive and diverse community or a homogeneous community? To what extent, if any, do these factors influence the development of social capital? For example, skateboarders or runners might see themselves as a “community” but to what extent does that contribute to social capital?

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