Community has traditionally been anchored in local, neighborhood interactions and enshrined as a code word for social cohesion. “Community” usually connotes people socially and cognitively encapsulated by homogeneous, broadly embracing groups (Hillery, 1955; Wellman, 2001a; Wellman, 2002; Wellman & Leighton, 1979). People in group-based societies deal principally with fellow members of the few groups to which they belong: at home, in school, in the neighborhood, at work or in voluntary organizations. They work in a discrete work group within a single organization; they live in a household in a neighborhood; they are members of one or two kinship groups; and they participate in structured voluntary organizations: churches, bowling leagues, unions, and the like. There have been fears since the industrial revolution that traditional group-based community has been “lost”. From the early 1960s, the balance of analysis swung away from bewailing this purported loss of community to using ethnographic and survey techniques to discover the persistence of neighborhood communities. In the 1970s, analysts began realizing that communities were flourishing outside of neighborhoods. The proliferation of cheap and efficient transportation and communication networks in the developed world has increased the velocity of transactions and fostered interactional density. This allows contact to be maintained with greater ease and over longer distances. Since the 1970s, many studies have documented a change from local to long-distance community, with little interaction across the intervening territory between places.
KeywordsSocial Network Social Network Analysis Network Member Virtual Community Scholarly Community
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