Communities and social mobilisations

Pinkney, Sharon and Saraga, Esther (2009). Communities and social mobilisations. In: Mooney, Gerry and Neal, Sarah eds. Community: Welfare, Crime and Society. DD208 Welfare, Crime and Society. Open University Press, pp. 135–167.



At the centre of this book is an emphasis on the very different ways in which the concept of community is understood. In the previous chapters in this book we have seen discussions of communities as inclusionary sites of belonging and attachment and social order; as exclusionary sites of conflict and boundary and disorder; as sites in which ‘problem populations and places’ are identified; as sites of social well– being and trust and communities as the focus of social policy interventions. It is clear from these discussions that community is both contested and contradictory. In this chapter we too will examine the ways in which community rejects any single or settled meaning. The chapter will develop the argument that community is an ‘unruly’ concept as it considers the ways in which people enact community. What we mean by this is that we are interested in the ways in which people use the idea, or their sense of community as a basis of practices and actions. These practices and actions vary – they may be mundane and everyday or they may arise from specific sets of concerns, events or situations.

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