Contemporary Community and Research Essay

Contemporary Community and Research Essay

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Although often containing key elements surrounding locus and relationships, the definition of community is a subjective, fluid, and debatable concept. Notable sociological theorists such as Marx and Engels (1840’s), Tönnies (1887), Durkheim (1893), Hillery (1955), and Parsons (1960), among others, have created unique and widely used definitions of community (Bruhn, 2011, pp. 29-31). Not surprisingly then, the ways in which community has been researched sociologically are characterised by varied methodologies and
techniques. The three main methodologies used today are positivist, constructivist, and postmodernist; and the three most common research methods are quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methodology (a mix of the two). Positivist objective scientific methodology has been dominant from the age of enlightenment to current day in scientific research; while in the post-modern era constructivist, (meaning is subjectively constructed from an objective reality), and post-modernist (viewing truth as completely subjective) methodologies have been popular mainly in the social sciences (Kayrooz & Trevitt, 2005, pp. 323-324). In this very brief essay I will suggest a definition of contemporary community and explain how research may be conducted on community in terms of that perspective.

My definition of contemporary community is a group of people sharing kinship over a sustained period of time where individuals in the group value one another. This is similar to both Tonne’s idea of Gemeinschaft where people’s relationships are made up of emotional or kinship ties and Parson’s idea of community which was defined by a solidarity of human connections (Bruhn, 2011, pp. 29-30). In the modern era of technological advancement, globalisation...


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Eipper, C. (1996). Suburbia : the threat and the promise. In A. Kellehear (Ed.),
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Kayrooz, C., & Trevitt, C. (2005). Research and its context. In Research in organisations
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Kayrooz, C., & Trevitt, C. (2005). Appendix 1 : the range of theoretical perspectives in
research. In Research in organisations and communities : tales from the real world
(pp. 323-324). Crows Nest, NSW : Allen & Unwin.

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