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Technically TogetherReconstructing Community in a Networked World$
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Taylor Dotson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262036382

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262036382.001.0001

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From Thick to Thin: The Seven Dimensions of Communality

From Thick to Thin: The Seven Dimensions of Communality

(p.33) 3 From Thick to Thin: The Seven Dimensions of Communality
Technically Together

Taylor Dotson

The MIT Press

This chapter attempts to break away from the narrow and vague definitions of community that plague scholarship as much as popular thought. Rather than reduce community to a single facet of social reality, whether networks of ties or shared symbols, or begin with the dichotomizing frame of authentic/inauthentic community, this chapter depicts community as a seven dimensional social phenomenon. Different instantiations of community vary with regard to the thickness of their webs of social ties, practices of exchange and mutual aid, frequency and depth of talking, production of a symbolic or psychological sense of belonging, degree of economic interdependence, extent to which politics and justice reaffirm rather than sever relationships, and strength of a moral order emphasizing collective rather than private interests. While networked individualism, as a result, can be understood as a genuine instance of community, it remains relatively thin with respect to several of the dimensions of communality.

Keywords:   Dimensions of communality, Webs of ties, Communal exchange, Talk, Sense of community, Economic community, Political community, Moral community, Networked individualism, Thick community

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