Here we introduce you to some of the materials around community theory and community studies in the encyclopedia of informal education.
A good starting point is with the idea and theory of community. What is community? How has it been represented in theory? We look at the contribution of key theorists and some of the debates around different conceptions of community.
From there it is useful to look at a couple of ideas often related to community. First it is worth looking at the idea and theory of association (and associational life) - especially as theorists like Tonnies have set association against community (Gesellschaft and Gemeinschaft). Second, the interest in social capital is a useful way of entering into current debates about the theory and practice of community. It is also worth looking at related theory around civic community.
Third, it is worth exploring the notion of community in relation to the contemporary concern with the theory and experience of globalization. To what extent, for example, does globalization threaten community? What is the impact of the so-called 'risk society' on community?
You might like to review the literature and research linked to community studies tradition. Here we look at some classic studies and the way they have contributed to community theory and practice.
Last, you could explore the theory of community development (and related theory and practice around community participation, community organization and community education).
Acknowledgement:The illustration 'People' is by Tim Morgan and is reproduced here under a Creative Commons licence - Attribution 2.0 Generic. See more of his work at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/timothymorgan/75288585/.