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Re-thinking the Concept of ‘Community’


Re-thinking the Concept of ‘Community’

Walsh, John and High, Steven (1999) Re-thinking the Concept of ‘Community’. Social History / Histoire Sociale, 32 (64). pp. 255-274. ISSN 0018-2257

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Traditionally, historians have preferred to rely on “common sense” approaches to the meaning of community, but such definitions, emphasizing the ideas of a shared place and a static, self-contained entity, are simply inadequate for historical research and writing. Three elements are fundamental to understanding the historical significance of community: community as imagined reality, community as social interaction, and community as a process. An interdisciplinary approach to this question takes into consideration the thinking of social scientists and humanists on the importance of space and networks in social life. The historical study of community, one that embraces both cultural and spatial perspectives, has much to benefit
from and much to contribute to this ever-growing and evolving body of work. As they have done with such concepts as “the family” and “the nation”, historians must make “community” a problem to be studied, discussed, and debated.

Traditionnellement, les historiens ont préféré définir la notion de communauté par le « bon sens », mais de telles définitions, qui soulignent l’idée d’un lieu partagé
et d’une entité statique autonome, sont tout simplement inadéquates pour la rechercheet l’écriture historiques. Notre compréhension de l’importance historique de la
communauté repose sur trois éléments fondamentaux : la communauté comme une réalité imaginée, la communauté comme une interaction sociale et la communauté comme un processus. Une approche interdisciplinaire de cette question tient compte de la pensée des spécialistes des sciences sociales et humaines quant à l’importance
de l’espace et des réseaux dans la vie sociale. L’étude historique de la communauté, qui englobe tant les perspectives culturelles que spatiales, a beaucoup à gagner de ces travaux sans cesse grandissants et toujours en évolution et beaucoup à y apporter. Comme ils l’ont fait pour des concepts tels que « la famille » et « la nation », les historiens doivent faire de « la communauté » un problème à étudier, à discuter et à débattre.

Divisions:Concordia University > Research Units > Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling
Item Type:Article
Authors:Walsh, John and High, Steven
Journal or Publication:Social History / Histoire Sociale
Date:November 1999
ID Code:976913
Deposited By: STEVEN HIGH
Deposited On:28 Mar 2013 18:39
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:43
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