Essay on Community – Meaning, Elements and Other Aspects of Community

(2) Community is “the smallest territorial group that can embrace all aspects of social life”

(3) Community is “an area of social living marked by some degree of social coherence”.

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(4) “A community is a group or collection of groups that inhabits a locality”.

(5) Community is “any circle of people who live together and belong together in such a way that they do not share this or that particular interest only, but a whole set of interests”.- Manheim

Community is, therefore, a geographic area having common centres of interests and activi­ties. A community is essentially an area of social living. It is marked by some degree of social coherence. Thus community is a circle in which common life is living. ‘Community’ is an all-inclu­sive term. It includes in itself all our social relationships.

It includes a variety of associations and institutions. Within the range of a community the members may carry on their economic, religious,; political, educational and other activities. Hence community is the total organisation of social lift within limited space. Examples: village, town, tribe, city-, district.

Elements of Community:

The main bases of Community are: (i) locality, and (if) community sentiment,

(i) Locality:

A community is a territorial group. It always occupies some geographic area. Locality is the physical basis of community. Even the wandering tribe or a nomad community, for example, has a locality, though changing habitation. A group of people forms community only when it begins to reside in a definite locality. In contrast with society, a community is more or less locally limited.

Living together facilitates people to develop social contacts’, gives protection, safety and security. It helps the members to promote and fulfill their common interests. Further, the very physical conditions may influence social life to a great extent. Most communities are settled and derive from the conditions of their locality a strong bond of solidarity.

Locality continues to be a basic factor of community life. However, in modern times the local bond of community is weakened by the development of the means of transport and communication. In fact, the extension of communication is itself the condition of a larger but still territorial commu­nity.

The physical factors such as fertile soil, minerals, forests, fisheries, water resources, vegeta­tion, weather, climate, etc., are included in the locality. These factors condition or influence the lives of community members in several ways. They have a close bearing on their economic activities in particular.

(ii) Community Sentiment:

Locality alone cannot make a group, a community. Sometimes, people residing in the same area may not have any contacts and communications. For example, people living in different exten­sions of a city may lack sufficient social contacts. They may not have common outlook and share on common interests. A community is essentially an area of common living with a feeling of belonging. There must be the common living with its awareness of sharing a way of life as well as* the common earth.

Community Sentiment means a feeling of belonging together. The members must be aware of their staying together and sharing common interests. The members develop a sense of awe feeling. It means a kind of identification with the group. Without a sense of identification, a sense of aware­ness, a sense of living and sharing some common interests in life, there cannot be any community.

Other Aspects of Community:

(i) Stability:

A community has not only locality nd community sentiment, but also has stabil­ity. It is not a temporary group like a crowd or a mob. It is relatively stable. It includes a permanent group life in a definite place.

(ii) Naturalness:

Communities normally become established in a natural way. They are not deliberately created. They are not made or created by an act of will or by planned efforts. Individuals become its members by birth itself. Membership, hence, is not voluntary. Communities are sponta­neous in their origin and development. Of course, they cannot come into being suddenly and auto­matically.

(iii) Size of the Community:

Community involves the idea of size. A community may be big or small. A small community may be included in a wider community. A city and a village may be included in a wider community called the district. Hence, there are communities within communi­ties. District, as a big community may enclose small communities like villages, towns, cities, tribes, etc. Thus the term community is used in a relative sense.

(iv) Regulation of Relations:

Every community develops in course of time, a system of tradi­tions, customs, morals, practices; a bundle of rules and regulations to regulate the relations of its members. The sense of what they have in common memories and traditions, customs and institutions shapes and define the general need of man to live together.

However, in modern times, the nature of community sentiment is gradually changing. Today, the interests of men are diverse and complex. Their attachment towards their community is gradually fading. In modern highly industrialised urban communities, the spirit of community sentiment is very much lacking.