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City, Community, Nation, State

Participation and Spectacle

Judith Kapferer

The events and sites of a national holiday (17 May in Bergen, Norway) are the grounds from which to draw out meanings of nationalism and tradition, and analyze ideologies of egalitarianism and individualism in a social democratic welfare state. My project has two aims: to open up and deconstruct aspects of the material and symbolic life of the city, and to engage an examination of patterns of local and national community life in relation to shifting evaluations of localism and nationalism within the a changing state formation. Bergen can be thought of as a case study of social order and control, with women, children, and reverence for home life, highlighted in the town’s celebrations. The symbolism of the day discovers community and state in a difficult relation between domestic communities and nationalist ideology in the maintenance of governmentality, a relation mediated by the city itself.

Open access

Discourses, Bodies, and Questions of Sharedness in Kenya's Wellness Communities

Sarah M. Hillewaert

“They are just naturally like that, you know? If you don't have anything, you don't need to learn about detachment.” Jake sipped his foamy cappuccino before elaborating on the success of the community yoga project he had launched in a small

Open access

Which community for cooperatives?

Peasant mobilizations, the Mafia, and the problem of community participation in Sicilian co-ops

Theodoros Rakopoulos

The literature on cooperatives often conceptualizes cooperativism as an organized effort to embrace community participation. Through the analysis of agrarian cooperatives in Sicily that were formally established to counter the Mafia and by ethnographically exploring the notion of community for cooperativism, this article aims to problematize this idea of cooperatives as “community economics”. It proposes an anthropological approach that critically analyzes divisions of labor and the internal factions' divergent concepts of “community”. In Sicily, workers in “anti-Mafia” co-ops recognize a sense of community and “way of life” in Mafia-influenced mobilizations outside the cooperative environment, contrary to the co-op administrators' legalistic views of community. The article illuminates how the fact that often co-op members draw on different ideas of community can lead to contradictions and tensions, especially as there are different social realities underlying those ideas.

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Competition and community in Edinburgh

Contradictions in neoliberal urban development

Christa Ballard Tooley

Cities have long been recognised as key spaces for neoliberal interventions. Identified by municipal leaders as instruments in competition for internationally mobile labour and capital, cities like Edinburgh, Scotland, have increasingly been shaped by urban development practices justified by the exigencies of competition. Any project to centralise urban development processes, however, must navigate the potential obstacles to efficiency found in the discipline of urban planning, which privileges community involvement in such processes. This article explores the tension between the values of community and efficiency in urban development, showing how, in the case of a proposal for development named Caltongate, the role of a community in the planning process was disputed, precisely because of its potential, qua community, to levy moralised claims to representation. I suggest that this case is not exceptional. Rather, it illustrates a characteristic contradiction of community as a politicised identity in neoliberal urban development: it is elevated in (often moralised) rhetoric but in practice is subordinated to the objective of efficiency in the delivery of centrally determined development outcomes.

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Egalitarianism and Community in danish housing Cooperatives

Proper Forms of Sharing and Being Together

Maja Hojer Bruun

The Danish concept of faellesskab (community) is explored in this article. Faellesskab covers different kinds of belonging and notions of proper togetherness in Danish society, ranging from neighborhood relations at the local level to membership in society at the national level. In investigating the ideals and practices of faellesskab in housing cooperatives, the article shows how people establish connections between these different scales of sociality. It argues that the way people live together in housing cooperatives, in a close atmosphere of egalitarian togetherness, is a cultural ideal in modern Denmark. The more recent commercialization of cooperative property has, however, caused concern. While some believe that faellesskab can still be practiced in the small enclaves of autonomous cooperatives, others fear that this ideal is threatened by economic inequalities.

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“Because we are the only ones in the community!”

Protest and daily life in poor South African neighborhoods

Jérôme Tournadre

camp, or a neighborhood. These affiliates are similar to groups of people formed around a few very committed activists with a high degree of visibility in the community. Here we find a type of structure quite familiar to the women and men living in

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Youth, community life and well-being in rural areas of Siberia

Anthony Glendinning, Ol'ga Pak, and Iurii V. Popkov

The study looks at young people's situations in small communities in Siberia against a backdrop of socioeconomic and rural-urban divides in post-Soviet Russia. Focusing on the end of compulsory schooling, the study looks at the fit between young people's accounts of their circumstances, aspirations for the future and feelings about themselves, as well as implications for mental well-being. A mixed-methods approach is adopted, including preliminary fieldwork, a large-scale survey (n approximately 700) and in-depth interviews (n approximately 90). Situations and well-being in rural areas and small towns in Novosibirskaia oblast' are compared with life in the city of Novosibirsk. There is stark segmentation by locality. In small communities, the household 'copes' along with the young person in shared goals and understandings and in aspiring to get 'an education' as a means to secure employment and a 'comfortable' life beyond subsistence. Most households locally share the same situations. Almost all imagine continuing their education and leaving their home communities, dependent on family resources and networks. Horizons are limited to towns in the region, or perhaps the city, seen as a place of possibilities but also risks. Beyond the rural household, the collectivity of peers represents another key resource in negotiating and maintaining self-worth. Neither individualism nor the reach of 'global' culture is evident. Young people are embedded in the 'local', but despite their situations and poor prospects, these do not affect their sense of themselves. If anything, profiles of mental well-being and, certainly, self-worth are better in rural communities compared to the city.

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“It's Not Being Racist, but … ”

A Youth Gang and the Creation of Belonging Based on “Othering”

Sinead Gormally

This qualitative study demonstrates how one youth gang, in an area fictionalized to Dixonvale, Scotland, construct their group identity by othering a migrant community. Simultaneously, these young people are often pathologized by wider societal

Open access

“Avoiding the mistakes of the past”

Tower block failure discourse and economies of risk management in London's Olympic Park

Saffron Woodcraft

architecture is implicated in community breakdown: its form driving social isolation, mental health issues, crime, antisocial behavior, gang violence, and drug abuse. Writing the day after the Grenfell fire, the Guardian columnist Simon Jenkins (2017

Open access

Revisiting Cultural Participation in Museums

An Early Community Outreach Experience in Mexico City

Leticia Pérez-Castellanos

project was also developed in line with other discussions on the social role of museums, participation, and community engagement that were taking place at the same time. Despite being a pioneering case in community museology in the region and in