In the US, Hillary Clinton is worried about ‘fractured communities’, while Barack Obama wants to ‘construct communities’. In the UK, Gordon Brown declares that immigrants should perform community work before being granted citizenship, while the Archbishop of Canterbury suggests that sharia law might improve community relations. Communities are now charged with everything from ‘preventing extremism’ and building ‘respect’ to encouraging ‘sustainability’; and the first graduates have emerged from the Government’s new accredited course in Community Leadership. But what do politicians and commentators mean when they talk about ‘community’?
Why are so many different debates moulded around the issue of ‘community’? Does all the talk of creating ‘active citizens’ and building ‘community cohesion’ in fact reflect a concern with fragmentation and a loss of control. This session marks the launch of the book Future of Community: Reports of a Death Greatly Exaggerated. From the new East End to virtual communities, what does ‘community’ mean today?
|Dr Andrew Calcutt
principal lecturer in journalism, University of East London; editor, Proof; co-author, Journalism Studies: a critical introduction
adviser to local government; blogger, Guardian, Huffington Post; convenor, IoI Social Policy Forum.
freelance writer; blogger, Free Society
teacher; convenor of the Future Cities Project Readers’ Group
lecturer, Scott Sutherland School of Architecture, Robert Gordon University; co-founder, AE Foundation
We are constantly being told that communities are under threat, that we are losing a 'sense of community'. This book finds that the notion of community in Britain is actually threatened by the very thing intended to protect it; relentless government and third party interventions bent on imposing their own forms of social cohesion on the population.
Dave Clements (Author, Editor), Alastair Donald (Editor), Martin Earnshaw (Editor), Austin Williams (Editor) , Pluto Press, 20 October 2008
The government’s eco-towns initiative has started a number of debates – about their size and the choice of locations, and how lessons from new towns can be applied to the existing built environment.CABE, 25 September 2008
It's easy to romanticise the welfare priority and democratic values, but it's all built on very un-British restrictions of freedomMadeleine Bunting, The Guardian, 15 August 2008
A decade of regeneration policies has failed to stop the inequality of opportunity between towns and cities in the North and those in the South East increasing.Tim Leunig and James Swaffield, Policy Exchange, 18 July 2008
Here's a question for a council leader: "On the whole, do you consider your residents to be very satisfied, fairly satisfied, not very satisfied or not at all satisfied with the lives they lead?"Patrick Butler, Guardian, 11 June 2008
I suspect the New Right was on to something in the 80s when they complained that Britain was creating a ‘dependency culture’. They only got it half right, and for all the wrong reasons.Dave Clements, University of Wales, Newport, 2008
In a 'super diverse' Britain, the key to social cohesion is not a new British 'identity' but tackling poverty and inequalitySukhvinder Stubbs, Guardian, 14 May 2008
What is the government's performance on empowerment to date and what it should consider for the futureRichard Wilson, Guardian, 11 March 2008