'Community' is so overused both in everyday language as well as in scholarly work that it could easily be dismissed as a truism. However, the persistence of the term itself shows that the idea continues to resonate powerfully in our daily lives, ethnographic accounts as well as theoretical analyses. This book returns a timely and concerted anthropological gaze to community as part of a broader consideration of contemporary circumstances of social affiliation and solidarity. Over the last twenty years, community as an idea has overtaken community as social interaction in a number of influential works. However, without elucidating the actual social relations in which the idea of community is realized, it is difficult to account for the emotions it calls forth. Thus while the essays in this book acknowledge the conceptual, imagined dimension of the construction of communities, they also seek to re-embed their accounts of community in a social context. The chapters cover a whole gamut of ethnographic cases from small localities, regional identities, transnationally dispersed personal networks to more limited and ephemeral relationships.
The authors contribute invigorating new material to an established and crucial area of anthropological study. Vered Amit, Anthony Cohen, Andrew Dawson, Noel Dyck, John Gray, Signe Howell, Marian Kempny, Ullrich Kockel, Karen Fog Olwig and Nigel Rapport.
Vered Amit is an Associate Professor at Concordia University, Canada. She is editor of Constructing the Field (1999).