The increasing individualism of modern Western society has been accompanied by an enduring nostalgia for the idea of community as a source of security and belonging and, in recent years, as an alternative to the state as a basis for politics.
Gerard Delanty begins this stimulating introduction to the concept with an analysis of the origins of the idea of community in Western Utopian thought, and as an imagined primitive state equated with traditional societies in classical sociology and anthropology. He goes on to chart the resurgence of the idea within communitarian thought, the complications and critiques of multiculturalism, and its new manifestations within a society where new modes of communication produce both fragmentation and the possibilities of new social bonds. Contemporary community, he argues, is essentially a communication community based on new kinds of belonging. No longer bounded by place, we are able to belong to multiple communities based on religion, nationalism, ethnicity, life-styles and gender.
'Delanty displays a wide knowledge of the literature and a lively and innovative style of theorising which makes the book more original … I have found Delanty's book to be a model of clarity and synthesis. I hope that this book reaches the wide readership it deserves, not just amongst students but also amongst those in politics and the media who help to mould the contemporary zeitgeist.' - Ray Pahl, Urban Studies
'An excellent read for all social work educators and social work students, especially those involved in policy practice and community level practice.' - Victor Manalo, The Social Policy Journal
'George Delanty, Professor of Sociology at the University of Liverpool, provides not only a concise and well-written review of the major issues and debates in the social science literature regarding the conceptualization of the communitybut builds upon these debates for theorizing community today.'- Victor Manalo, The Social Policy Journal
1. Community as an Idea: Loss and recovery 2. Community and Society: Myths of modernity 3. Communitarianism and Citizenship: The decline of the social 4. Multiculturalism and Community in Divided Societies: How divisive is culture? 5. Communities of Dissent: The idea of communication communities 6. Postmodern Community: Community beyond unity 7. Urban Community: Between demoralisation and regeneration 8. Cosmopolitan Communities: Between the local and the global