Community: A Critical Response by Joseph R. Gusfield

By Joseph R. Gusfield

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1 peno . d s It . h as b een. H ere rational eS C1ass . and . tests provide the source 0 f much 0 f t he mtegration m er b S" l 1 . 1 1 alty of mem ers. Iml ar y, an economIC c ass may act C;IIlInunallY, cherish its styles of life and develop strong . trinsic sentiments. Appeals to upper-class identity or to l~oletarian community are efforts to construct such groups ~n bases other than similarity of economic interests. Empirically, appeals to both interests and sentiments may operate at the same time in the same group.

L1 In this chapter I h ave d escn'b e d t h e concept " communlty . " tb CONCEPTS AS IDEOLOGIES 21 baving a significance in three dimensions. d~scribes a specific form of human associ; tion. In another ~t IS pa~ of a. theory of ~hange through social evolution. In stIll a thIrd dimenslOn, It is part of an ideo1 gical debate over the value of the present as compared to t~e past and to possible alternative futures. This formulation of conceptual dimensions sets the outline of the remaining chapters: three problems form their substance.

11 Peter Las lett, The Wo1'ld We Have Lost, New York and London, 1965. 9 10 p. ~)1 . ' 2 THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF COMMUNITY Concepts as Existential Types Introduction Where shall we look for community in contemporary human associations? Can we distinguish some human aggregations that are communal and some that are societal? Modem social organization, as Durkheim pointed out, is composed of a multitude of different and diverse groups, organizations, subcultures, and associations. Since our concepts denote a quality of human relations rather than a quantity of population, we need to describe the kind of social bond existing both within the groups and associations of a society and between them.

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