Understanding Community: thoughts and experiences of young people

Main Article Content

Hilary Yerbury


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.

Article Details

Articles (refereed)
Author Biography

Hilary Yerbury, University of Technology Sydney

Hilary Yerbury has been an academic in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Technology, Sydney and volunteered with the Oxfam International Youth Parliament for several years. She recently completed a PhD through the School of Management at the University of Technology Sydney on how young people create and understand community through their engagement in civil society online.