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Chapter 6

PS282 chapter 6 summary.docx

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Colleen Loomis

PS282 – Community Psychology Chapter 6 Summary Understanding Community Psychological sense of community – people experience a shared emotional bond, a shared identity, and mutual trust, caring and commitment. Community refers to varying ecological levels, from micro systems to macro systems. Types of Communities: o Locality based community – it includes city blocks, neighbourhoods, small towns, cities and rural regions - when residents of a locality share a strong sense of community, individuals often identify themselves by their locality and friends are often neighbours. o Relational Community – defined by interpersonal relationships and sense of community but are not limited by geography - may only be based on friendships or recreation (e.g. bowling league, sorority) Levels of communities: o Microsystems, e.g. classrooms, groups o Organizations, e.g. workplaces, civic groups o Localities, e.g. city blocks, neighbourhoods, cities, towns…etc o Macrosystems, e.g. the business community, the “Italian” community…etc Four Elements of Sense of Community o Membership – community members of personal investments n the community and of belonging to it. It has five attributes: - boundaries – refers to the necessity of defining what includes member and excludes members - they may be rigid or permeable - common symbols – help define boundaries, identifying members or territory - e.g. use of the greek letters among sororities, colours for a sports team…etc - emotional safety – a sense of sense of safety from crime in a neighbourhood; it requires mutual processes of self-disclosure and group acceptance - personal investment – refers to the latter as “paying dues” - investment indicates long-term commitment to a community such as devotion of time - sense of belonging and identification – the individual is accepted by other community members and defines personal identity partly in terms of membership in the community o Influence – refers to both power that members exercise over the group and the reciprocal power that group dynamics exert on members - members are more attracted to a group in which they feel influential o Integration and Fulfillment of Needs – integration has two aspects: shared values and exchange of resources - shared values are ideals that can pursued through community involvement - exchange of resources refers to satisfying needs and exchanging resources among community members - needs may be physical or psychosocial o Shared emotional connection – it involves a spiritual bond - members of a community may recognize a shared bond through behaviour, speech or other cues Elements of Sense of Community o Sense of community is contextual, varying in different cultures and communities. o The idea of “sense” of community refers to thinking and emotions such as feeling of belongingness, of emotional safety, a shared emotional connection. o McMillan argues that the cognitions, emotions, and actions of sense of community cannot be separated Levels of Sense of Community o Personality variables account for 25 percent of the variance in how much sense of community students perceived in their schools or college o Both personal and neighbourhood factors contribute to the perceptions of sense of community o Shared sense of community may develop more strongly in residential neighbourhoods where individuals may remain for a longer time in high school or college o Redefined: psychology sense of community would refer to an individual experience of community ties. o This individual-level of variable might vary among members of the same community experiences o Sense of community would then refer to a quality of a community as a whole Narratives and Sense of Community o Dominant cultural narratives are familiar to more people in a culture and are communicated through media, books and shared rituals - can also exclude those not in the narratives mainstream or convey stereotypes about them o Community narratives – told within smaller communities and may follow or resist dominant cultural narratives - may emphasize interdependence rather than individual heroes - offer shared emotional connection, meaning for understanding life, assurance of mutual commitment and a sense of belonging: all elements of sense of community o Personal stories – individuals unique accounts, created to make a sense of their own lives - often draw on shared cultural or community narratives to find meaning Negative Psychological Sense of Community o Psychological sense of community is negative when a person feels strongly negatively about the wider community o This person may resist community involvement o The adaptive value of a negative psychological sense of community is not limited to this sample o Sometimes promotes well-being Multiple Communities in a Person’s Life o Multiple commitments compete for our time and energy or conflict i
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