The paper 'Community and Issues of Concern to Community Groups" is a good example of business coursework. Little has been done regarding the definition of community and what encompasses a community. The term community was first coined by Aristotle who defined it as “ a group of people who share the same values (Boyles, 1997). According to Aristotle, the terms ‘ social’ and ‘ communal’ were the same and he even perceived the Polis city as an epitome of a community (Delanty, 2009:1). Initially, this term has been derived from the French term ‘ communite’ which was derived from a Latin word ‘ communitas’ meaning an organized society (Muljadi: 1).
Since its inception, the concept has been used in various disciplines. The term in itself has resulted in a substantial debate in various disciplines such as sociology. Perceptions of different scholars about this term and its definition vary to a large extent. It is for this reason that it has been defined differently and the opinion of what it comprises of vary with discipline. In fact, Muljadi highlights the fact that sociologists have not yet agreed on a precise definition of this term.
In the same way, Kathleen et al have agreed with this idea that there is a lack of precise definition of this term and as a result, various contributors have stated contradictory assumptions of the term community. In addition to being broadly defined in sociological discipline, the term community has also been defined in other contexts as well such as ecology, biology, anthropology and archaeology. In each of these contexts, the term community has a unique definition. By mid of the 1950s, ninety-four different definitions of this term had emerged (Muljadi).
Perhaps, the best way to begin this discussion is by first giving commonly used definitions of the term. As earlier mentioned, the term community has been defined differently by various scholars depending on the context where it has been applied. There are two distinct and commonly used definitions of the term community. One of them defines community as a group of cooperating people, likely to be living closely and often refers to a group having common values and characterized by social cohesion within one geographical setting, generally in social units greater than a household (Muljadi: 1).
The definition used in biology gives another distinct meaning of the term and it defines community as a group of cooperating living organisms sharing a populated setting (Muljadi: 1). There are other distinct definitions of the term existing in other disciplines such as ecology. It is quite evident that from these two distinct definitions, a common concept that needs to be there for a community to exist is cooperation or cohesiveness. Keller (2003: 8) argues that a community will only exist if individuals have a common goal to work for rather than just being close to one another.
The first definition is quite specific where it applies to human beings alone. The biological definition is more general and it applies to all living organisms. The degree of cohesiveness varies depending on several factors such as intent, belief, preferences, and intent among others (Muljadi: 1). In Sociology, the term has generally been defined as “ an environment in which a mutual culture share common interests” (Fessler, 1976: 7).
It implies that it is a broad term applying for small rural settings to vast urban settings. Despite this, Fessler (1976) was able to note that large cities were excluded by sociologists in this definition. Similarly, Delanty (2009) posits that according to sociologists, the community is a specific form of the social body based on small units such as small towns and neighbourhood.
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