Understanding Community: thoughts and experiences of young people

Hilary Yerbury


Abstract

This ethnographic study of members of Generation X and Generation Y seeks to explore the ways they understand and experience community. Their comments and stories were gathered through interviews collected towards the end of 2006 and the early part of 2007. These provide richly textured evidence of their need to belong, to maintain everyday relationships and to collaborate with others at the same time as they commodify relationships or share information but not necessarily beliefs and values. Consequences of globalisation such as individualisation, transience in relationships, immediacy in communication, the blurring of boundaries between work and leisure, between public and private and the reliance on information and communication technologies are part of their everyday lives. Some study participants feel dis-embedded from their traditional social relationships and seek to establish new ones, whereas others feel comfortable joking with anonymous others. Their intellectualised constructs of community and descriptions of the lived reality of community find reflections in a range of theoretical constructs in the literature, both reinforcing and shifting scholarly understandings of the concept of community.

Keywords

Community, Generation X, Generation Y, Internet, dis-embedding, re-embedding.

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