What Is Community Anyway? | Stanford Social Innovation Review

I’ve been working with actual communities and also studying the idea of community for a long time, since early in my graduate career. (I started out wanting to study the theory of bureaucracy and its systemic deferral of risk, liability, responsibility. Glad that Graeber did that study, though have not had time yet to read his new work.) At any rate, “community” is a peculiarly fraught American notion and it is also a profoundly complex, textured one. And it’s one that my employers, clients often seem not quite to get, though there are exceptions and I confess it’s getting better. (But there is still—alas—the conflation between a community of consumers and a community of producers and though the two can certainly overlap—Alice can be a consumer as well as a producer, even of the same sort of things—yet in a structural sense they differ fundamentally in their relation to things and even to others in the community. And open source communities get even more interesting.

 

What Is Community Anyway? | Stanford Social Innovation Review.