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.

The Symbolic Construction of Community

The symbolic construction of community

To say that community is symbolically constructed is neither to suggest that it has deep meaning to which only certain privileged individuals have access, nor is it to suggest that communities are formed by the imagination of something akin to a collective consciousness that is confident and clear about its own ontological existence. On the contrary, it is to recognize that communities are not only the outcome of the unconditioned agency upon which their existence depends, but also that they do not exist without imagery, boundary marking processes, customs, habits, rituals and the communication of these. What this suggests is that community is made manifest through people's – outsiders as well as insiders – repeated and deep ...

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