This book defines the current identity of community studies, provides a critical but reliable introduction to its key concepts, and is an engaging guide to the key social research methods used by community researchers and practitioners.

Concise but clear, it caters for the needs of those interested in community studies by offering cross-referenced, accessible overviews of the key theoretical issues that have the most influence on community studies today.

It incorporates all of the important frames of reference including those which are:

Theoretical; Research focused; Practice and policy oriented; Political; Concerned about the place of community in everyday life

The extensive bibliographies and up-to-date guides to further reading reinforce the aim of the book to provide an invaluable learning resource.

Interdisciplinary in approach and inventive in its range of applications this book will be of value to students studying sociology, social policy, politics and community development.

Virtual Communities

Virtual communities

This term is commonly used to refer to the social networks mediated by information and digital technologies. Virtual communities are extraterritorial and do not necessitate the face-to-face contact, which is conventionally seen as central to community relations.

Section Outline: This chapter explores the implications of virtual communities – where social networks are not limited by the constraints of place or proximity – for conventional conceptions of community. In addition to examining the capacity of virtual worlds to generate community relations, it considers the ability of virtual communication to empower people by generating unrestrictive social networks that allow them to experiment with their identities based on their own individual choices and desires. In the light of this discussion, the chapter then considers virtual communities ...

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