Vocabularies of community

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Journal Article
Community Development Journal, 2012, 47 (2), pp. 184 - 198
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There have been many calls to conceptualize or reconceptualize key concepts that have been affected by the changes to ways of living, especially for young people in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. Community is one such concept. The ethnographic study reported here explored how educated young people involved in civil society online and with links to Sydney, NSW, expressed their understanding of community through their lived experience. It sought to theorize 'community' following Geertz and developed a vocabulary through which the human behaviour of community can be expressed. This vocabulary has some similarities to a vocabulary derived from the literature, but also differs in significant ways. An analysis of the vocabulary derived from the expression of the lived experience of the young people in this study indicates that community continues to exist for these young people and among other things that the desire for community is intrinsically linked to the development of self-identity and to making the world a good place to live. Community is not seen as an entity into which an individual can be absorbed, but rather something which grows out from the individual and which is endlessly created and re-created. © Oxford University Press and Community Development Journal. 2011 All rights reserved.
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