Rural be/longing: community, conviviality and social organizations in rural England

Neal, Sarah and Walters, Sue (2008). Rural be/longing: community, conviviality and social organizations in rural England. Sociology, 42(2) pp. 279–297.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0038038507087354

URL: http://soc.sagepub.com/content/42/2/279

Abstract

This article considers how structures of community feeling and ways of belonging are produced, maintained and recreated in local rural environments. It argues that rural social organizations, which operate through, and are embedded in, notions of conviviality and community, have taken up a par ticular role in this process. While using the concept of community with all the usual sociological caveats in place, the article seeks to emphasize a) the importance of the sociality of community and b) the need to understand the ways in which this sociality is continually shaped by the potent imaginary of what ‘community’ and, more specifically, what ‘rural community’ mean and represent. Drawing on a qualitative data set the article details the emo- tional connectivity participants made between the local and the social and the everyday routine practices involved in constructing a community sensibility. It con- cludes by examining how ambiguity and governance are part of these processes.

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