The Community Conundrum

I have chosen this blog as the home of musings which don’t entirely belong on university discussion boards. They’re inspired by course work but they fit with my experience of the world, not necessarily the prescribed world that universities seem to want us to connect with. I have been reading Bauman’s The stranger revisited – and revisiting (1995) and wondering why, though it’s a great piece, it doesn’t really address rural jingosim in Australia.

I have selected a passage which explains Bauman’s support of theories that societites band together against the ‘other’ in order to construct an almost-forgotten sense of community. He suggests that in our consumer society identities and communities are constructed around flimsy consumer subcultures at their richest and around detached flaneuristic slumming at worst. He suggests that uniting against a common ‘stranger’ strengthens communities’ ideas about what they are and what they are not, and that this unity stands in for genuine community.

I agree. Except that it doesn’t explain Australia’s jingosim, or the appeal of parties like the BNP in rural England. My experience is of semi-rural Australia. I bemoan the lack of avenues for self expression through consumerism and I easily tire of the lack of anonymity in our communities. Our communities here are all too real and defined. I would argue that in contrast, our sense of self is so limited by our community mindset that we fear the stranger as someone unknown and potentially dangerous. In this sense I think the regional explanation is more simple than it seems.

Bauman, Zygmunt. “The stranger revisited – and revisiting” in Life in Fragments: Essays in Postmodern Morality , Bauman, Zygmunt , 1995 , 126-138.

Image: PDF Highlighter.  The best study-app ever.


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