Many Communities 3

Submitted by Paul Born on November 22, 2011 - 11:45am
Part 1

After reading Derek Alton's blog - I have decided to start releasing my thinking on the community as a continuum. I will entitle this series - many communities. I have created a multi part series just because the blog format is easier to read when blogs are shorter. This is part of a much larger piece on trying to understand what community is. This might feel a bit technical but it is an exlporation at this point - I felt the need for a broader understanding of community that might provide a better few on where we can find it - my sense is community is emerging all around us - our job is to identify the experiences and feelings and embrace them and see them as seeds of community that we can grow.

The Community Continuum:

I would like to propose that the experience of community is a continuum, in other words a continuous series of experiences, which may or may not blend into each other. This is not a continuum where you strive to move up the ladder but rather a way of describing what we are experiencing. This is also not a continuum that judges the experience of community - in which one experience is better than the other. It is a continuum that helps us describe the kind of community we are experiencing.

As such community is not so much a cause and effect scenario but rather an experience or series of experiences which evokes an increasing feeling of connectedness or togetherness and requires the participant to become more engaged. Each level of the continuum requires the participant to give more of themselves to the experience.

As one progresses through the community continuum the force of the experience and feeling of community is intensified. Still like a rainbow each color blends into the other, though in this continuum, as the experience of community becomes more intense the feelings are cumulative and evoke more connection.

I would like to suggest that there are five stages in this continuum.

The Community Continuum:

Connected: Connected by association or activity

Involved: Making a commitment to ongoing connection

Committed: A reciprocal commitment emerges that is most often time limited or activity/place defined.

Belonging: Acts of mutual caring are frequent. Identity is associated with group.

I am: Individual and collective identity frequently merge