Social Community : Meaning, Types and Features!
The Meaning of Community:
The social life of the people is affected by the kind of community in which they live.
It was defined as an area marked by the sentiment of common living. It includes (a) a group of people, (b) within a geographic, area, (c) with a common culture and a social system, (d) whose members are conscious of their unity, and (e) who can act collectively in an organised manner. In the concept of community the two basic elements are those of a geographic area and sentiment of unity.
The Community as Locality:
The community is a territorial group which shares a common soil as well as shared way of life. II is no accident that people concentrate at a particular place and cluster together. Nearness facilitates contact, furnishes projection and makes easier the organisation and integration of the group. People living in the same locality come to have a distinctive community life.
Once a group of people gets sallied, an element of space enters into the social relationship. Local groupings become more important than even blood relationship. People who live in the same locality though they belong to different bloods, form a community. Even an immigrant who does not belong to kinship may become a member of the local community.
An important aspect of the physical structure of the community to which attention may be drawn is its unplanned physical structure. No long-range preconceived plan stands behind the different areas of modern community, the village, the city and the region. The result has been congestion, use of physically deteriorated habitations and other buildings, unbalanced development of various areas of living and of business activity. This situation so general of large cities needs proper community planning for its solution. Some of the leading countries like Great Britain, United States, Soviet Russia have put into operation some of the proposals for planning the community.
In Punjab the town of Chandigarh has been built according to a plan dividing the town into numerous sectors earmarked for specific habitations. But the task of rehabilitating the physical structure of a community is a complex one being faced with several difficulties of a practical nature like scarcity of materials, design difficulties, opposition of vested interests. It may be easy to design the shape of a new community but it is all the more difficult to redesign one already established.
The Community as Sentiment:
Community is more than the locality it occupies. It is also sentiment. The people living at a common place and leading their lives in one another’s company come to develop ‘we-feeling’. The place they occupy is to them much more than a portion of earth’s surface-it is their ‘home’. Living together makes them share common memories and traditions, customs and institutions.
It shapes their attitudes and interests. The sense of community becomes impressed in the depths of their personality. The community sentiment becomes a part of his own individuality. The individual identifies his interest with larger interest of the group. He feels indissolubly bound up with it so that to him the community is “bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh”. He carries a sense of dependence upon the community, which is both physical and psychological since his material wants are satisfied within it and since it sustains him and provides him solicitude.
In the community, every individual has his own status and he should make his contribution towards the working of the community in accordance with this status. The community sentiment induces this desire for contribution because this is a part of the community sentiment. Thus, community sentiment is marked by three ingredients of we feeling, sense of dependence and role-feeling. Every community has its own customs, interests, beliefs, superstitions, folktales, myths and folkways.
It may, however, be noted that community sentiment is a changing phenomenon. Today none of us belongs to one inclusive community, but to wider communities at the same time. Man today is a member of several groups, which satisfy the diverse needs of his personality. He feels attached lo these groups which replace the community sentiment.
This is most observable in a large city where neighbourhood as a community may not exist at all. The development of local transport also has lessened the coherence and intensity of community sentiment. Then the developing physical contacts of the rural people with the urban people facilitated by the modern rapid means of transport have weakened the attachment to the village community and reduced the extent of dependence upon it. In short, under modern conditions attachment to local community is decreasing. Man today has tended to find it in the appeal of larger groups.
Types of Community Organisation:
Human communities may be classified on the basis of many different criteria. A large number of classifications of human communities have been made and have been found useful for different purposes. A very broad and familiar classification is based on the size and density of the population, in terms of which we classify communities as neighbourhood, village, city, region and world community. The first two types of communities devoting more space to village community.
The neighbourhood is the first community with which the child comes into contact. It is a “loose integration of several family groups”. In large cities it is largely a group of “neigh-dwellers” characterized chiefly by the fact that the members reside within a particular geographic area.
In a city neighbourhood the people generally do not come in close contact and sometimes do not even know each other. Some of you must have experienced the difficulty of finding the house of your relative in a big city if you did not know it already. We may say that in cities neighbourhood as a community does not exist.
As opposed to city neighbourhood a rural neighbourhood involves persons living close to and well acquainted with each other. Though in a village neighbourhood people may not live in close proximity to each other, but may live somewhat apart, yet unlike city neighbourhood they know each other well. There are immediate contacts between the neighbours in a village.
It depends upon human nature whether the individual prefers to live in neighbourhood or he wants to live in a solitary house. There are some people who want to live near other people; while others may not like to live so. Dr. Bessie A. Mc Cleanham quotes some one:
“I don’t know anything about the neighbourhood. I don’t like it and take no interest in it. We have been here a year and bought only for investment. We have nothing whatsoever to do with our neighbours. I don’t even know their names or know them to speak to. My best friends live in the city but by no means in this neighbourhood. We belong to no clubs and we do not attend any local church. We go auto-riding, visiting and up town to the theaters. I know nothing about the neighbourhood and I never did have anything to do with my neighbours. I lived in apartments for ten years and never spoke to a neighbour in the house. I find it best not to, you are much safer. Then no one knows your business and I don’t care to know anyone else.”
Generally, women and children like to live in neighbourhood more than do the men. A neighbourhood is a loose group, if it can at all be called a group. Therefore, it does not possess any specific form of group control except neighbourhood opinion or gossip.
The neighbourhood feud is common. We often while passing on the road come across a quarrel among the neighbours. This quarrel usually begins over children, over livestock, over a boundary wall or over an insulting remark reported to have been made by one member about the member of another’s family. Sometimes, an ordinary quarrel takes serious proportions and divides the neighbourhood into opposing camps. It may even lead to murder.