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In this task, you will answer the following questions:


Provide a commentary on why the idea of 'community' has become so popular in recent years?


What is the deep attraction of belonging to, or sustaining, or building a sense of community?


Using ideas covered in the subject material throughout this session, please write an academic essay that answers the above questions in order to showcase your sociological understanding of community analysis.


Provide a commentary on why the idea of 'community' has become so popular in recent years?

What is the deep attraction of belonging to, or sustaining, or building a sense of community?

So, for this assessment task, you are asked for a range of viewpoints and to provide a critical perspective which is used to explain in detail why the idea of community is so popular and what it means to belong to, sustain or build a sense of community. You will gain insight into the strengths and limitations of your specific theoretical lens and case example.

The Importance of Community in Society

Within sociology and other social sciences, a community is a broad topic. To understand the community, it is essential to know that society is comprised of communities (Aers, 2017). The existence of society is due to the existence of communities. A community is a group of people that may be friends, family or neighbours who are in the interaction among themselves. The members of a community share similar values, beliefs and behaviours. Communities are within a bounded geographic territory. Therefore, there is a strong relationship among the people living in the same community. A social theorist has presented different ideas and concepts on communities and its behaviour. The primary aim of this paper is to use sociological theory for sociologically understanding community actions. With the help of a documentary about a neighbourhood initiative, Gaining Grounds, the paper will provide a commentary on the reasons that have made the idea of ‘community’ become popular in recent years. Also, the deep attraction of belonging to or sustaining or building a sense of community.

Directed by Llewellyn Smith, Gaining Ground was released in the year 2012. The film was captured in the words of John Barros who was not only a resident in the Dudley Street community but also a leader. Every person in the community was an agent of change. Race, age, ethnicity, gender or class were not the factor to be part of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI). The director focused on one neighbourhood in Boston in order to highlight the ways multiple issues intersect and the ways a neighbourhood can be transformed into a community of activist. It is only through commitment and investment that over time a community evolves and changes. Gaining Grounds views the complexities of rebuilding a community in the time of financial recession along with nation-wide housing crisis as a major disadvantage. Crime, responses to violence, environmental injustices, youth unemployment were some of the concern of the community. Also, mediating conflicts between politics, labour, citizens and intersections of state and local politics and lastly the future of Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (Emro.lib.buffalo.edu., 2019).

Several problems such as childhood poverty, unemployment and foreclosures have hit American cities since the great recession. Gaining ground shows the ways one diverse Boston neighbourhood have fought against every odd together manifesting the concept of community and its significant role in society.

The idea of community has gained a significant amount of popularity in recent years. The importance of community has been present for a long time however to view it in a way to improve society is the main idea. In order to respond accordingly with success, Australian public management with international trends in the localization of policy, an entirely new set of skills is required. The public management will bring improvement in the way of complying with international trends. To bring change to an area the important thing to consider is the community and its potential policy agency. Since appropriate knowledge of community will help in understanding the main requirement of a community, emphasize is given to the community. It has become significant for the state and the public management to recognize the deficit of the community before acting for its benefit.

Analyzing Gaining Ground: A Neighbourhood Initiative

In the film Gaining Grounds, it is shown that it is important to understand the needs of a community. The film shows Dudley Street community was faced with youth unemployment that was the economic condition of the community. It was not only the economic climate of 2008 and 2009 that was profound during the time when the film was made. The film showed the ways individuals as teenagers spoke to the neighbourhood meetings during the 1990s and worked as adults. They became aware of the ways they could affect change in their community. People in the community hold power to change although they are not assigned to that position. The purpose of the role models as a new generation of community activists was to make the others feel empowered to make a change they want to see in the future.

It is a question that arises is when the community people can bring changes that are needed for them then what could be the reason for it not to happen. It is due to the certain way communities work. There are three levels of power and it is the power that determines the pace of change. Power can be defined in various ways. Karl Marx perceived power as something that revolves around the distribution of economic resources (Toye, Harrigan & Mosley, 2013). According to Mills, a group of people named ‘power elite’ consisting of government, military and business leaders. These people hold a normative and economic position which gives them the capacity to enforce power to another (Mills, 2018). According to Max Weber, the perspective moves away from class to economic to some extent. He suggested that it is one’s ability to resist the will of other’s that makes them work becoming a subordinate. The government is one of the bodies consisting of an economically powerful position. It is the bureaucratic system that lets the powerful people dominate on the subordinates.  Communities are influenced by every level of government. The local government of Australia, in a similar way, is responsible for the better condition of the local roads, tax system and sewerage system.

Any person who tends to move a community is an activist. People living in a community feel a sense of togetherness and make a decision based on the same feeling (Naples, 2014). There is a deep attraction of belonging to the community. It is surprising the ways community is such a strong feeling that human feels. There are reasons that makes it possible even though the community cannot be touched. Belonging is a basic human psychological need. It is necessary in order to feel connected, together and safe (Benson & Jackson, 2013). People work hard to protect their safety, belonging and competence. Also, the reason people feel a strong sense of belonging, sustaining and building a sense of community since the community is built when there is some commonness. People tend to be part of community when they share similar values, norms, religion, culture or territory (Lövheim, 2013). All the factors make the community work for the betterment of the community. Therefore, the common interest makes the community feel a sense of belonging.

Conclusion:

Communities are the basic aspects of society. In order to understand society one needs to under community. Therefore, in order to create development plans for the society there is a need to understand the community primarily. A community is a group of people that may be friends, family or neighbours who are in the interaction among themselves. Due to the constant interaction, there is a sense of belonging. The film, Gaining Grounds has successfully manifested the ways people in communities can make changes that they want to see. It is due to government and structure of the power that play vital role in the development of communities.

References:

Aers, D. (2017). Routledge Revivals: Community, Gender, and Individual Identity (1988): English Writing 1360-1430. Routledge.

Benson, M., & Jackson, E. (2013). Place-making and place maintenance: Performativity, place and belonging among the middle classes. Sociology, 47(4), 793-809.

Emro.lib.buffalo.edu. (2019). Gaining Ground: Building Community on Dudley Street - Educational Media Reviews Online (EMRO). [online] Available at: https://emro.lib.buffalo.edu/emro/emroDetail.asp?Number=5122 [Accessed 21 Jan. 2019].

Lövheim, M. (2013). Young people, religious identity, and the internet. In Religion Online (pp. 67-82). Routledge.

Mills, C. W. (2018). The power elite. In Inequality (pp. 71-86). Routledge.

Naples, N. A. (2014). Grassroots warriors: Activist mothering, community work, and the war on poverty. Routledge.

Toye, J., Harrigan, J., & Mosley, P. (2013). Aid and Power-Vol 1: The World Bank and Policy Based Lending. Routledge.

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