significant communities by using the ideas, concepts and theories

Define and describe your community custom essay

Significant communities by using the ideas, concepts and theories presented in class Custom Essay

The purpose of the writing assignment is to explore more in depth one of your most significant communities by using the ideas, concepts and theories presented in class. The second goal is to help you think critically about one of your communities and how it affects you, your role in it and how it is related to or interacts with other communities in your life. Keeping these themes in mind, select and describe one of your most significant communities. Remember, communities are distinguished from a small group or nuclear family. Please address the following points in discussing your community:

Part 1

Define and describe your community. What type of community is it and how encompassing or limited is it with regard to the needs it meets? For example, is it:

–a placed based or territorially based community;

–a non-placed, interest-based, or issue community (e. g. religious, recreational);

–a social network (e.g., personal network, on-line community);

–a solidarity or identity community?

Please select at least one article from class to draw upon to help “define” your community.

In addition to defining your community, briefly discuss its history and your involvement in it. How did you become part of the community, how does it fit into your life (is it one of many communities that you negotiate)?


In other words, what is your involvement in the community? How does it shape your identity and how do you affect it?


Part 2

Describe at least two significant aspects, features, organizations or activities of your community or social

network. One of these features should be a community asset, resource, or form of social, human, natural or built  capital provided by your community. This could include but is not limited to:

–individuals who contribute their unique talents and skills to benefit the community as a whole; e.g., artists, youth, neighborhood activists, disabled people, seniors.

–associations such as service clubs, youth organizations, women�s groups, or athletic clubs.

–institutions such as schools; colleges, public libraries; parks, nonprofit organizations; museums; shopping facilities, mental health facilities, rehab centers, etc.

–unique qualities or physical resources such as good weather; historical landmarks; topography; bodies of water; rivers; diverse ethnic cuisines, cultural events, sports teams, etc.

Other features or types of capital such as cultural, financial or political that might be included in your

community description include:

— your community’s identity: Does it have one? If so, how does it affect community members?

— demographics: What is the population base and size; social class (income and education levels), cultural and/or ethnic makeup; male/female ratio? Is your community diverse?

–primary economic or business activity: How do people make a living?

–political activity (government and non government; positions of power, both formal and informal: How are decisions made? Do community members participate? If yes, where and how?

If your community is a social network or interest-based community be sure to include its structure, composition, contents, and how encompassing or limiting it is with regard to the services or social capital it provides, the needs it meets, etc.

Again, please select two articles from class to draw upon to help you describe a significant asset or resource of your community.

Part 3

Finally, please describe a significant change, conflict or unmet need that has occurred in your community. What was a consequence or effect on you or other members of the community? (If there is a lack of change or conflict occurring in your community or network, can you speculate why)?

Again, please select one article from class to draw upon to help you describe a significant change, conflict or unmet need of your community.

Research Guidelines

In order to describe your community’s features or activities (Part 2), you will need to conduct some preliminary research  or investigation. Avoid using stereotypes, rumors and generalities (for example, “my community is comprised of many different groups”). Instead, collect some data to help describe your community, e.g., document its racial/ethnic or social class breakdown using census data. Other potential sources for descriptions of or information on an aspect of your community include your community’s web site if it has one, the chamber of commerce, planning department, tourism division or public library. You might also want to consult local media such as your community newspaper and its community calendar to discover local resources and services. Another excellent resource for information on your community would be to attend a community meeting on some aspect or resource in your community, or an issue it is dealing with.

You will also be required to conduct a short interview with a member of your community (e.g., a community elite, official/expert or everyday community or network member) to gather some primary data on your community. Some areas or questions you may want to cover in the interview could include: the length of time they’ve been a member of or involved in the community; the strengths and assets of the community; community history; the most pressing community issue(s) in need of attention; their perceptions or feelings about the community; their perceptions of an ideal community; and the future of the community. These are just some suggestions to get you started. An excellent source to consult with before you begin your community description is the Community Toolbox at the end of your class reader, especially the articles entitled “Understanding and Describing the Community,” “Identifying Community Assets and Resources� and “Conducting Interviews.”

Be sure to briefly describe your sources and your interviewee in reporting on your community. Draw upon your interview data to help describe various features of your community as well as discussing a change or unmet need in your community.

Paper length and due date: The paper should be approximately 5 pages in length, typed and double spaced. You don’t have much space for each section so use it wisely. Please pay careful attention to sentence construction, grammar, spelling and punctuation. Content, organization, grammar and good description will be taken into account for grading purposes. Be sure to cite at least four class articles (you may use an article more than once) you have selected, your interview and any other sources you use in a bibliography (APA or ASA format) at the end of the paper.

Try to have some fun in thinking creatively and critically about community, its importance and meanings by using the ideas, concepts, theories and information presented in class. Remember, “Whether we know it or not, like it or not, we are imbedded in community.” (Parker Palmer)


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