By Gerard Delanty

With this creation to the concept that of neighborhood, Gerard Delanty analyses the origins of the assumption in Western utopian idea and as an imagined primitive kingdom equated with conventional societies in classical sociology and anthropology.

content material: neighborhood as an concept: loss and restoration --
group and society: myths of modernity --
city group: locality and belonging --
Political group: communitarianism and citizenship --
group and distinction: sorts of multiculturalism --
groups of dissent: the assumption of verbal exchange groups --
Postmodern group: neighborhood past cohesion --
Cosmopolitan group: among the neighborhood and the worldwide --
digital neighborhood: belonging as verbal exchange --
end: Theorizing group today.

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In Durkheim’s view, life in large groups is as natural as in small ones, claiming ‘there is a collective activity in our contemporary societies which is just as natural as that of the smaller societies of previous ages’ (Durkheim, 1964, pp. 146–147). Durkheim rejects the assumption that lies behind Tönnies’s argument of community as organic and society as mechanical. In fact in his major work on modern society, The Division of Labour in Society, first published in 1893, he effectively reverses Tönnies’s thesis, claiming that in modernity organic forms of solidarity are emerging and replacing the mechanical forms of the past.

In this view, then, community and society are not fundamentally opposed but mutual forms of sociability. The assumption underlying this thesis is that community is not to be understood exclusively in terms of tradition, but that it entails particular forms of symbolically-constituted social relationships which can also be mobilized under the conditions of modernity and which are always present in every social arrangement. Drawing on some of the major sociological theories of community, it is argued that community can take post-traditional as well as traditional forms.

No social arrangement has ever fully realized communitas or can do without it. Before proceeding further, there is one final observation to make about the major historical accounts of community. In the classical conceptions of community, the communicative nature of community was rarely discussed, with one major exception: Immanuel Kant. Kant anticipated the ideas of a later modernity in advocating a quasi-communicative theory of community in which universalism is reconciled to particularism. e.

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