Megan Meyer

in Social Work

ISBN: 9780195389678
Published online June 2011 | | DOI:

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Understanding, fostering, and mobilizing communities have been central features of social work practice since the profession’s founding in the late 1800s. During this period of rapid industrialization, social workers recognized the significant impact of social context on the well-being of individuals and families and worked through settlement houses both to create a sense of community among immigrants and the poor living in America’s growing cities and to achieve policy reforms. Scholars of this era also began to explore how industrialization and urbanization were affecting the nature of human association. Since then, scholarship on the nature of community has steadily grown in a number of disciplines, including sociology, anthropology, psychology, political science, urban planning, and social work. Finding a single, encompassing definition of community is virtually impossible, as there are hundreds of “types” of communities and the construct can be conceived of in a wide variety of ways. Generally, however, community is understood as a set of relationships or connections among individuals and/or institutions that share common values, beliefs, behavioral norms, interests, or goals and have developed a sense of reciprocity and collective identity with and influence over one another. Scholars recognize that these connections can be rooted in physical location (e.g., neighborhood, region, nation-state) or in shared interest or identity (kinship, race, religious belief, occupation, political goals) and that individuals can identify with multiple communities with varying degrees of loyalty. This bibliography does not aim to provide a clear definition of community or claim to cover all definitions or types of community. (The diffuseness of the concept, however, coupled with increasing interest among academics, practitioners, funders, and policy makers in studying, strengthening, or rebuilding “community,” has led several of the authors cited here to seek to establish some definitional clarity for both community and community interventions.) Rather, it identifies sources from the fields of social work, sociology, anthropology, psychology, and political science that are useful for social work scholars, educators, and practitioners interested in understanding, researching, or practicing with communities.

Article.  8257 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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