chapter
7 Pages

COMMUNITY

Within the larger society, a community is a group of people united in their beliefs, practices, and experiences that motivates them to cooperate and work together for the attainment of social and religious goals. A particular community is not only a gathering of individuals, but it is also an ideal constructed in the minds of its members. Communities operate to socialize their members by encouraging certain types of behavior. When members become socialized they help to foster stability and a sense of well-being. By differentiating themselves from others, a community can create tensions with outsiders that could theoretically lead to conflict. Not only do communities possess a social dimension, they also have a historical aspect that extends through time and across generations of members. In contrast to other kinds of social groups, communities are distinct because of the spiritual quality of their beliefs, practices, and experiences. By implementing social agendas and shaping the behavior of its members, communities can exert power in the larger social world for change, stability, or conflict.