The idea of community and its practice: tensions, disruptions and hope in Glasgow's urban growing project

Traill, H. (2021) The idea of community and its practice: tensions, disruptions and hope in Glasgow's urban growing project. Sociological Review, 69(2), pp. 484-499. (doi: 10.1177/0038026120982272)

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The question of what community comes to mean has taken on increasing significance in sociological debates and beyond, as an increasingly politicised term and the focus of new theorisations. In this context, it is increasingly necessary to ask what is meant when community is invoked. Building on recent work that positions community as a practice and an ever-present facet of human sociality, this article argues that it is necessary to consider the powerful work that community as an idea does in shaping everyday communal practices, through designating collective space and creating behavioural expectations. To do so, the article draws on participant observation and interviews from a community gardening site in Glasgow that was part of a broader research project investigating the everyday life of communality within growing spaces. This demonstrates the successes but also the difficulties of carving out communal space, and the work done by community organisations to enact it. The article draws on contemporary community theory, but also on ideas from Davina Cooper about the role of ideation in social life. It argues for a conceptual approach to communality that does not situate it as a social form or seek it in everyday practice, but instead considers the vacillation between the ideation and practices of community: illustrated here in a designated community place. In so doing, this approach calls into focus the frictions and boundaries produced in that process, and questions the limits of organisational inclusivity.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work was supported by an Economic and Social Research Council doctoral studentship [grant number 1510541].
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Traill, Dr Helen
Authors: Traill, H.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:Sociological Review
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):1467-954X
Published Online:07 January 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Authors
First Published:First published in Sociological Review 69(2): 484-499
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

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