In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Community

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Journals

Sociology Community
Zachary P. Neal
  • LAST REVIEWED: 21 November 2012
  • LAST MODIFIED: 21 November 2012
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756384-0080


Community is a broad topic within sociology, the social sciences generally, and indeed even in the natural and physical sciences. This bibliography focuses primarily on human communities, and although many different definitions have been offered, most involve a few basic claims. First, a community is a group of people who interact with one another, for example, as friends or neighbors. Second, this interaction is typically viewed as occurring within a bounded geographic territory, such as a neighborhood or city. Third, the community’s members often share common values, beliefs, or behaviors. This bibliography includes sources for general overviews of community, journals publishing research on community, and entries organized under three major headings: Defining Community, Community Processes, and Finding Other Communities. Defining Community lists works that have attempted to define the concept of community, and to locate and characterize specific communities. Community Processes lists works that explore the wide range of social, political, and economic processes that take place within communities and that shape communities as they change over time. Finding Other Communities lists works that consider human communities that exist outside the mainstream, and that seek to explore community as a more abstract notion that goes beyond face-to-face human communities, including Internet-based virtual communities and communities of nonhuman entities, such as dolphins or protein molecules.

General Overviews

Because community is such a broad topic, no single work can provide a comprehensive overview of the concept. These works offer a general introduction and may serve as references sources that point to more specific aspects of community. Christensen and Levinson 2003 and Delanty 2010 provide broad and encyclopedic coverage of several aspects of community. Adopting a different approach, Neal 2013 introduces a social network approach to understanding community, and provides a general overview from this perspective.

  • Christensen, Karen, and David Levinson. 2003. Encyclopedia of community: From the village to the virtual world. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

    This multivolume encyclopedia includes over five hundred entries on topics ranging from specific communities (e.g., Amana, Amish, Arcosanti) to the problems that contemporary communities face (e.g., vigilantism, xenophobia).

  • Delanty, Gerard. 2010. Community. 2d ed. New York: Routledge.

    This textbook briefly summarizes several different conceptions of community, including urban communities, political communities, and virtual communities.

  • Neal, Zachary P. 2013. The connected city: How networks are shaping the modern metropolis. New York: Routledge.

    Neal adopts a network-based approach to thinking about urban communities, which are explored at multiple levels ranging from neighborhood communities of people to global communities of multinational corporations.

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