Community Building: Values for a Sustainable Future

Community Building: Values for a Sustainable Future

Community Building: Values for a Sustainable Future

Community Building: Values for a Sustainable Future

Synopsis

This work is a description of vulnerabilities that help account for many of the serious problems facing contemporary society in industrialized countries, including high rates of crime; homelessness; alcohol, tobacco, and other drug addictions; and a breakdown of the psychological sense of community.

Excerpt

Communication and community grow in each other's shadows; the possibilities of one are structured by the possibilities of the other.

-- E. W. Rothenbuhler The Process of Community Involvement

What is it about the concept of "community" that compels the imagination of scholars, practitioners, and the public alike? The mourning for the death of community, coupled with rhetorical appeals for community from virtually all sectors of our society -- from neighborhood watch groups to presidents ("It takes a village") -- demonstrates the profound yearning for connection in our culture. But what is it that we have lost and are trying to reclaim?

Leonard Jason's book goes a long way toward answering this question. His tour of community -- from philosophy to physics, from ecology to mythology, and from religion and spirituality to psychoneuroimmunology -- reveals many of the values we appear to have lost along the way. His text adds an important voice to the collective body of literature that speaks to the longing for community in the postmodern era, when the forces of urbanization, industrialization, and technology make it seemingly impossible for people to connect meaningfully with others (see Bellah, Madsen, Sullivan, Swidler, & Tipton, 1985, 1991; Gergen, 1991; Meyrowitz, 1985).

Longing for community has always been a central theme of our col-

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