chapter  35
14 Pages

Community Organizing Research Approaches

ByJames W. Dearing, Bridget Gaglio, Borsika A. Rabin

A broad perspective on what constitutes a community means that “the community” can refer to a neighborhood or town or city block, as well as to the people who live and work there. Community also refers to the social interactions among those individuals, to the identifi cation that they feel toward the place and each other, and to the normative expectations and consequent behaviors in which they engage as members of a commons. When individuals feel involved, when they feel that others listen to them, when they perceive that they share things in common with a defi ned group of others, they feel a sense of community. Residents can share a neighborhood and never know one another, thus feeling a low degree of community, just as members of a breast cancer discussion board scattered throughout the world can develop strong aff ect and feel a high degree of community.