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Evolving Conceptions of Community

  • Kenneth C. Bessant
Chapter

Abstract

Social system theory and human ecology represent two of the most prominent community perspectives of the mid-twentieth century. Aspects of both approaches continue to inform the study of community and development practice. System-based thinking was highly influential in shaping the once dominant conception of community as a quasi-bounded, integrated structural entity. This chapter provides an overview of community system theory and human ecology, along with more recent discussions of social ties, transactions, and networks. Much has been written, of late, about social relations and network structures within place-based and spatially dispersed communities. Important theoretical work is also being devoted to the study of social-ecological dynamics, adaptive processes, and community resilience. All of these issues constitute valuable contributions to the historical trajectory of community theory.

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Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth C. Bessant
    • 1
  1. 1.Brandon UniversityBrandonCanada

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