Ken Dempsey's Community

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Discuss Ken Dempsey's reading on Community

In the reading Community: Its Character and Meaning, the author, Ken Dempsy stresses the difficulties that arise when attempting to define this concept of community. It is one of the most contested concepts in the social sciences, yet sociologists persist in using it because the informal relationships we have beyond the household continue to play a significant part in people’s daily lives, and they find the notion of community indispensable to talking about these experiences.

The similarity between the conflicting definitions of community is a common reference to humanity. Beyond this there is no basic agreement. There are different types of communities according to who is defining it. For example, some definitions don’t refer to geographical area at all while others emphasise this as the main characteristic of community, known as community of place. Yet there are conflicting ideas that community doesn’t necessarily have to be an external thing but comes from within an individual, the view that community can just be sharing a common belief or common lifestyle.

One of the more accepted definitions of community arises with a group of people occupying a common territory, sharing a common life, whose members have one or more social ties in common. And the sense of belonging that arises from being a part of this.

Most of the writers who have conducted major reviews of the literature on communities acknowledge that communities need not inhabit the same territory in order to be communities but are built around common identities.

Another occurring idea from academics is that communities are groups that are able to meet the daily needs of their members from the resources of their own area and their own people. Yet despite the persistence of this viewpoint, the reality today is that no settlement in the Western world is economically, politically or culturally autonomous. Nor do the inhabitants of any community...
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