Community vs Network: towards Community Networks

Barry Wellman argues that the traditional approach of looking at communities as existing in localities, made the mistake of looking for community, a preeminently social phenomenon, in places, an inherently spatial phenomenon. However, I think that the locality or not-locality of a community determine in a unique way the qualitative characteristics of that community. You can’t leave your children unattended in a virtual community, as was happening in the community of a traditional village, where the fates of the members were closely interwoven and interdependent.

Barry Wellman equate community with social network. ‘The principle defining criterion for community is what people do for each other and not where they live“. He defines community as personal community, a person’s set of ties with friends and relatives, neighbors and workmates, which is actually the same as the social network of the person.
Barry Wellman is doing an interesting to me comment about SPSS: “The problem is that SPSS (with its companion, Statistical Analysis System) has gone from being a research tool to being a worldview — one that assumes that individuals, analytically isolated from each other, are the proper objects of  sociological study. The thrust of Social Network Analysis has been to reconnect the study of individuals to the relationships and the structures of relationships in which they are embedded.”

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