The term “community” refers to a group of people who live in a common circle and interact with one another in various aspects of life. Human beings have this as a common social trait of being together. Individuals in the community share common social beliefs, norms, traditions, and a desire to be together. It is impossible to build communities without these.
Characteristics of Communities
The meaning of community can be better understood if we analyze its characteristics or elements. These characteristics decide whether a group is a community or not. However, community has the following characteristics or elements:
A group of people
When a group of people live together and share a common life and blinded by a strong sense of community consciousness at that moment a community is formed. Hence a group of people is the first pre-requisites of it.
A definite locality
It is a territorial group.
Its sentiment refers to a strong sense of awe feeling among the members or a feeling of belonging together.
Among the members similarities in language, culture, customs, and traditions and in many other things is observed. Similarities in these respects are responsible for the development of community sentiment.
Let’s look at some more specific examples to better understand communities characteristics-
The Khasia community lives throughout the Sylhet region of Bangladesh. More than five hundred years ago, they came to this country from Assam (India). Although no alphabet in their language has been found, oral language is rich in folklore. The Khasias believe that the beginning of human civilization is in the hands of women. And they have maintained the matriarchy in their own society since the beginning. Women can marry men from any tribe they want, but the husband must live in the wife’s house for the rest of his life. Men’s rights are protected in Khasia society, despite women’s hegemony.
We now refer to khasia as a community because it is a group of people who share common interests and similarities in different aspects like- they share the same beliefs, languages, emotions, and feelings, and they live in a specific geographical area.
Elements of Community
In a seminal 1986 study, McMillan and Chavis identify four elements of “sense of community”
Feeling of belonging or of sharing a sense of personal relatedness
mattering, making a difference to a group and of the group mattering to its members
integration and fulfillment of needs, Shared Emotional Connections
Many communities around the world have not only a legal system and a permanent structure for the members’ livelihood but also various associations and organizations to protect the members’ various interests, emotions, and feelings. On the basis of its members, communities may be small or large. Many small communities throughout the world are considered isolated from the larger community.
We can talk about the Indian communities in Canada. Just as they have a separate entity from the larger population of those countries; they are also isolated from communities of their own country.
Today we also know about different types of virtual communities that have been developed based on thousands of social or web media platforms. The structure of communities in modern society is changing for a variety of reasons. As in a virtual community, connectivity, news sharing, and protecting people’s interests are easier than ever, but in reality, sentiment and solidarity toward the communities and its members are dwindling.