Can Community exist without boundaries?

August 25, 2017

Golden Papers

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Can Community be without boundaries? Critically discuss Cohen’s thoughts on the symbolic building of community.


The construct of Community has in modern times attracted Social Science subject and at the same clip difficult to specify which presents indispensable inquiries about societal inclusion and exclusion in a sense of belonging.

In this assignment I will specify the significance of community at the introductory portion, and in the chief essay I will briefly explicate why communities can non come into being without boundaries. I will lucubrate on the symbolic construction of community as a cultural entity with multiple complex significances following a general impression that is applicable to local and cultural communities whereby people see themselves as belonging to a group. And in decision I will summarize community as a symbolic footing for cultural mobilisation.

What is Community?Community is that vicinity to which a individual belongs. It could be besides defined as where a group of people populating together and somehow these people may hold several features in common such as holding common involvements, which can be linked together by factors such as faith, ethnicity, business, system of values and certain attitudes. …The world of ‘community spirit’ , the sense of belonging which people exhibit to a small-scale societal and cultural entity which is bigger than the ‘family’ but yet less impersonal than … . ( Cohen, 2001 )

Community is a construct where people come together as in brotherhood or fellowshipping together originating from common duties and mutualness. The active chase of corporate involvements does nevertheless promote cultural designation.

Community could be seen as a topographic point where people geographically portion the same elements in that district, this could besides be referred as vicinity. Peoples evidently believe in the impression of community, either as ideal or world, or sometimes as both at the same time.

Construction of community

Why communities can non come into being without boundaries.

Boundaries are the forms that shape communities and civilisations. Without boundaries community can non come into being. Every community is defined by nature sacred beliefs maintained by its citizens, and every coevals that comes uphold and take part in this sacred belief because it’s ever been done that manner.

It is really obvious we can non populate in a universe where there are no boundaries. If there are no boundaries that will intend that everyplace will be the same, even nation’s civilizations, individuality and languages all will be one. It will be really difficult to unify all. And that will intend throwing out many valuable individualities, civilizations that define us as human being and sense of belonging and intent.

In Cohen’s statement, he stated that ‘communities are best approached as ‘communities of meaning’ in other words, “community” plays a important symbolic function in bring forthing people’s sense of belonging’ ( Crow and Allan, 1994:6 ) .

The fact that Cohen is seeking to set up here is that there are certain factors that links a individual to a certain root, for illustration civilization which is an of import facet of societal life. It is non establishments or constructions that define a community but instead the feelings and experiences of its people, and the mode in which they express them.

Peoples who portion the same community evidently have something in common with each other, and this common component is what sets them apart from people of other backgrounds who don’t portion the same elements. An illustration could be a Muslim community where everyone life at that place patterns Islam, so they have something ( Islam ) in common from those who don’t pattern Islam.

The same is applicable to any other faiths like Protestant and Catholic struggle in Northern Ireland, Jenkins ( 1997: 121-2 ) concludes that ‘the civilization stuff’ is so of import, and that ‘being a Catholic or a Protestant truly means something’ to the people in inquiry. It is this spiritual association that is seized upon as the chief ground so that being Protestant or Catholic defines the individuality of an person.

A community is besides associated with boundary which is marked/divided either by map ; by jurisprudence for official and administrative intents, or divided by natural characteristics like river, route or linguistic communication.

Boundary Markss the beginning and terminal of a community. When these boundaries are drawn, they expressly identify who belongs, and who is outside of it ( the community ) it is a signifier of individuality of a group of people belonging together in a peculiar country. It is necessary to hold boundaries marked because of the fact that merely as people interact with each other so besides do communities interact with one another and must be distinguished every bit good from each other.

Boundaries that demarcate communities exist non merely for geographical designation, but besides as symbols of significances and values in the heads of their members and these socially constructed symbols of significances and values come to be expressed as a community’s particular quality or peculiarity.

A community can be distinguished from another community by the manner of behavior or character of the people who live at that place, for illustration a community may be known as a community in which about bulk of the young person attain at least 3rd degree instruction and above.

In other wards parents in this community knows the importance of instruction and do it a precedence that their boies and girls must acquire a bachelor’s grade before any other committedness in life. So this community will be known as elect community whose typical life manner is rather different from the community next to it who likely don’t see instruction to be of import. Day ( 2006: p. 159 ) stated “small differences can be accorded great importance ; in a boundary line district like Ireland’s South Armagh, people who are identical from one another in most respects may work highly difficult to amplify whatever differences do be to turn them into the ‘master symbols’ by which their community is defined.”

A group of like-minded people can be believing and concluding likewise. They can be believing that they are different from another group or set of people. Cohen refers this as people can ‘think themselves as into difference’.” The boundaries consist basically in the appliance of typical significances within the community’s societal discourse. Having done so, they are so expressed and reinforced through the presentation of those individualities in societal life” ( Cohen, 1985: p. 117 )

I must besides indicate out that Cohen’s symbolic community manner of life points out attending on the manner in which people experience community through shared rites, such as the one-year Notting Hill carnival. Community is every bit much about difference every bit good as it is about similarity and individuality

Cohen argues to turn out to be false that the widespread theory that there is a diminution of community because of the force per unit areas associated with modern criterion of life. These force per unit areas are derived from urbanisation ; mass media, industrialisation and globalisation tend to dominate the existent geo-social boundaries around communities.

Globalization is a procedure that makes local and planetary universe be seen as one imagined whole. The impact of globalisation on communities can be assessed in footings of institutional procedures involved such as economic, cultural, or political factors and besides on its different sections of the population, like the young person or adult females.

Globalization manifests itself within the day-to-day life of community members, within the household, at the work topographic point and other community spheres, and within the societal every bit good as the economic Fieldss. “We submit that the multiplicity of life universes makes community a device for societal collection instead than integration” . ( Cohen, 1985 )

In my sentiment, I believe that no affair how urbanised a community/city might acquire, the people will still maintain to their civilization and individualities. For illustration in African civilization if person moves to another community or province in hunt of greener grazing lands, there is a large possibility that he/she will first of all attempt to turn up people from his/her place town before looking for a house to lease in the vicinity where his/her town’s individual is populating, so as to remain closer to each other because they portion the same civilization and individuality.


In this essay I have mentioned the procedures of cultural individuality and the intents it serves in the production of civilization, viz. , the creative activity of corporate significance, the building of community through mythology and history, and the creative activity of symbolic bases for cultural mobilisation.

Community may be a concern for group individuality ; it may besides be a desire to garner people together to dispute constituted constructions ; or it may be an involvement in pass oning province policy in relation to societal alterations. Each community constructs significance and values harmonizing to its ain demands.

This exercising focuses on the issues in modern-day society which defines our individuality ; the sense of amalgamation and lodging together ; and citizenship, which is presented as how we relate to the province. All these are linked to civilization and community with modern-day concern for specifying and making belonging.


Berman, P. S. , ( 2012 ) ‘Global legal pluralism: A Jurisprudence of jurisprudence beyond borders’

Cambridge University Press

Cohen, A. P. , ( 1985, 2013 ) ‘The Symbolic Construction of Community, Routledge Press

Crooke, E. , ( 2008 ) ‘Community Spaces: Ideas, Issues and Challenges’ Routledge Press

Crow, G. , and Allen, G. , ( 2014 ) ‘Community Life: An Introduction to local Social relations’

Routledge Press

Day, G. , ( 2006 ) ‘Community and mundane Life: The New Sociology, Routledge Press

Erikson, T. H. , ( 2002 ) ‘Ethnicity and Patriotism: Anthropological Perspectives’ Pluto Press

Jenkins, R. , ( 1997 ) ‘Rethinking Ethnicity: Arguments and explorations’ London, Routledge


Nagel, J. , ( 1994 ) ‘Constructing Ethnicity: Creating and Recreating cultural individuality and

Culture.’ University of California Press