What is a 'local community'? In the UK, the media will often use the word(s) 'community' or 'local community'. I struggle to see how this term can be defined. Is a community a purely defined by geographical location? If so, is the person who lives 10cm outside this zone not part of the community? Do we have to share the same beliefs, customs or rituals? Is the definition subjective or objective? Am I massively over thinking the matter? I would appreciate any help or comments. Many thanks

I think you rightly put your finger on a problem. In the USA, we use the term 'community' to refer to groups of people who are not at all (necessarily) living in proximity, e.g. the gay community or the LGBT community, the Muslim community, etc. I could take a shot at offering an analysis of the concept of "community" but I suspect this would be quite an uphill battle. Maybe the point to focus on is what-do-we-hope-to-do-with-the-concept of "community." I imagine that the way the terms "the gay community" is used today is that it is designed to promote solidarity among homosexuals and the term "community" is better than, say, terms like "club," "group," "class"... You mention how beliefs, customs or rituals might come into play in defining a "community": I would think all three would enter into unpacking what would be meant by the "Muslim community." While I have lived in the UK, I am in the dark by a particular British usage of "local community," but I wager it is intended to be geographical and might be co-extensive to what in the states might be called a neighborhood.

Two things that might be of interest: at my college, we use the term "community" all the time (e.g. "the St. Olaf community") but in times of tragedy (when a student or professor or staff member dies) we use the term "family" (the St. Olaf family). Second, there is a philosophical movement that uses the concept of "community" as a foundation reference point called "communitarianism," according to which matters of value and reason are thought of as defined (even constituted) by specific communities. Time to check out the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy for further reflection on this. Two who have contributed to communitarianism are Charles Taylor and Alistair MacIntyre.

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