Community: Verb and noun?

Within so many public sector programmes, speeches on the Big Society, charitable endeavours or social enterprise models you’ll find one ubiquitous term: community. It might be that communities are to be empowered or engaged; they are to be given the opportunity to take over local assets; perhaps communities are to be encouraged to make decisions for themselves.

But for a community to do any of these things it needs to, well, exist. Its members must come together to achieve and articulate a consensus, and be able to do this on a frequent basis. Too often we imagine that a series of people living in proximity to each other constitute a community when really they are simply an aggregate. In that case how do communities come about, why are they in decline, and are we right to place such emphasis on the empowerment of communities?

On Thursday 12th May at POPse! there was a roundtable discussion on this. What followed was a fascinating account of where we are on community today. It featured contributions from a range of participants including a local vicar, a philosopher, a government employee and a hacker. Of course, it being POPse! there was also a good sprinkling of social entrepreneurs.

To see a summary, please click on the following link – community

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1 Response to Community: Verb and noun?

  1. I’ve been working on something like that on the back burner for a while now. I think I may actually have been the first person to talk about community as a verb, see my 2008 blog post at I think it’s not just about community as a verb, but also about how much community you are doing, what I called your Communitivity. I’d love to be involved with Popse in the future, feel free to email me or ping me on twitter (@BillBarnhill)

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