To appreciate and understand the enduring interest and appeal of the concept of community, we need to explore the different, and at times contradictory and contested, theories that highlight the term. To operationalise this we have spent some time in this chapter considering a number of important community studies that reflect the diversity and changing nature and understanding of community from the impact of the industrial revolution up to the present time. Traditionally, community studies have been primarily concerned with the interrelationships of social institutions in a locality. Community studies have understood community as ‘a space defined by multiple contiguous social networks’ (Ray, 2006). Further, these community studies provide invaluable accounts of how people lived in particular neighbourhoods and the problems they encountered.
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