2nd edition, 2nd Edition
Routledge – 2009 – 192 pages
Series: Key Ideas
The increasing individualism of modern Western society has been accompanied by an enduring nostalgia for the idea of community as a source of security and belonging and, in recent years, as an alternative to the state as a basis for politics.
Gerard Delanty begins this stimulating introduction to the concept with an analysis of the origins of the idea of community in Western Utopian thought, and as an imagined pristine condition equated with traditional societies in classical sociology and anthropology. He goes on to chart the resurgence of the idea within communitarian thought, the complications and critiques of multiculturalism, and its new manifestations within a society where new modes of communication produce both fragmentation and the possibilities of new social bonds. Contemporary community, he argues, is essentially a communication community based on new kinds of belonging. No longer bounded by place, we are able to belong to multiple communities based on religion, nationalism, ethnicity, life-styles and gender
1. Community as an Idea: Loss and Recovery 2. Community and Society: Myths of Modernity 3. Urban Community: Locality and Belonging 4. Political Community: Communitarianism and Citizenship 5. Community and Difference: Varieties of Multiculturalism 6. Communities of Dissent: The Idea of Communication Communities 7. Postmodern Community: Community Beyond Unity 8. Cosmopolitan Community: Between the Local and the Global 9. Virtual Community: Belonging as Communication Conclusion: Theorizing Community Today
Gerard Delanty is Professor of Sociology and Social and Political Thought, University of Sussex, UK. He is the author of the Cosmopolitan Imagination, 2009.