Halperin: The Essence Of Community In Practicing Community

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In Practicing Community, Halperin wrote of the essence of community. She believed Everyday practices showed the essence of community because they demonstrated neighbor’s ties to one another. The distinction between who was family and what was community was not clear, and this was the essence of community (pg. 49). Community was about people helping each other. Geographic location is also understood as part of community as are features of the area like the river, which Halperin claimed was something East Enders believed were part of their personal identity (pg. 30).
Geographic location is also an aspect of community according to Roger Guy. It facilitated community and provided security for those unfamiliar with the city, but as with the
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Blood and marriage ties are not what made someone fictive kin, but obligation, affection, caring, and responsibility. While family was something a person was born into, fictive kin was something developed. Kinship was important but the fictive kin network was wider and could provide connections immediate family could not. It is important to keep in mind how the concepts involved in community work together. Fictive kin connections are part of self-preservation, solidarity, and reciprocity processes. Such was the case in all three books and will be discussed later.
An example of a firm fictive kin connection comes from Guy when he relayed how southerners banded together to fight Puerto Ricans for the right to live on Clifton Avenue (pg. 56). This example demonstrates how different families used connections to others to carve out Clifton Street as a place of their own. Another example from Hansen demonstrates non familial ties. Samantha Barrett recorded visitors for the last three weeks of her life. All together there were seventeen friends, kin, and neighbors, each taking a turn at caring for her (Pg. 95) Halperin noted how households could contract or expand depending on needs of kinship networks. However, one need not be considered blood family to be considered kin as was the situation with Robbie Kale who took care of her “granddaughters”. These are children of the girl she raised according to Halperin, not her
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Self-preservation involved taking care of one’s self and the community. Halperin stated in the East End taking care of the community first was more important than self this why fixing a house had a lower priority than helping a family member or friend (pg. 168).
However, it is important to preserve one’s reputation and individual standing first. Mary Mudge knew it was important in antebellum society to have a decent reputation (Hansen, pg. 22). Ministers during that time knew it and that congregations had to grow and that meant ministers had to know the audience and sustain interest (Hansen pg. 145). When self-preservation failed it was frustrating. One grassroots leader was distraught when her intentions, her heart, were not understood (Halperin pg. 271). Sarah Bodwell learned how frustrating failure could be and fought hard to be cleared of slander against her reputation. She knew to preserve her position as a teacher and earn a living she had to be cleared of wrongdoing (Hansen pg.

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