This, and the above discussion, leads us to three key questions: Cohen argues that ‘community’ involves two related suggestions that the members of a group have something in common with each other; and the thing held in common distinguishes them in a significant way from the members of other possible groups (Cohen 1985: 12).
Community, thus, implies both similarity and difference.
In practice the two are entwined and often difficult to separate (Frazer 2000: 76).
As such it may well be used to bring together a number of elements, for example, solidarity, commitment, mutuality and trust.
It comes close to the third of the ideals that were inscribed on many of the banners of the French Revolution – fraternity (the others, as you will most likely remember, were liberty and equality).
As such they may be seen in very different ways, not only by people on either side, but also by people on the same side.
This is the symbolic aspect of community (or communion) boundary and is fundamental to gaining an appreciation of how people experience communities (and communion).
It is a relational idea: ‘the opposition of one community to others or to other social entities’ (op. This leads us to the question of boundary – what marks the beginning and end of a community?