The Field-Interactional Approach to Community

  • Kenneth C. Bessant


The field-interactional approach evolved in the late twentieth century as an alternative to social system thinking about community. The study of field dynamics is not confined to the interactional perspective, and, so, this chapter explores varied interpretations of the “field” concept. Early proponents of the interactional field approach recognized the need to re-theorize community in light of wide-scale societal transformation and turbulence. Social field theory draws attention to the multifarious interaction processes at play within communities and the potential for purposive collective action. The field-interactional perspective is essentially a “bottom-up” community development approach that is premised on emergent relational processes of interest convergence and collective agency. Quite literally, communities “act” in and through field-based interactions and relations that become organized around mutual interests.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

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

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