Reflect upon the important communities (other than family and friends) in your life and list them. You might consider some of the following as personal communities:
- Recreational club or league
- A workplace
- A block, neighborhood, or town where you live or once lived
- A religious congregation or group
- A mutual help (self-help) or other support group
- A civic club, or group working for change in your society or community
- The college or university you are attending
- An Internet chat room or other on-line group
Consider why you listed each community. Consider the emotions you experience in this community.
Review your list and determine which of these communities are:
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- Relational communities?
- Other organizations?
- Mediating structures linking individuals to larger communities or systems?
- Larger populations or macrosystems?
Now, select the community with which you most often interact outside of family and friends and assess that community using the four McMillan-Chavis elements of sense of community: Membership, influence, integration, and shared emotional connection.
In an essay, identify your selected community and address the questions listed under each of the four elements.
- How is membership defined? What else do members have in common?
- Are there common symbols shared by members?
- What investment (material, emotional, other) have you made in this community?
- How deep is your sense of emotional safety in this community?
- Is being a member of this group an important identity for you? How?
- How does being in this community influence you as an individual?
- How much influence do you as an individual have on this community?
- If you wanted to influence a decision in this community, how would you do that?
- How are your individual needs fulfilled in this community?
- How do you help fulfill other members’ needs?
- What values are shared in this community?
Shared Emotional Connection:
- Do you feel an emotional bond with other members of the community? How?
- What rituals, celebrations or other occasions strengthen community bonds?
- What community narratives are shared in this community?
Length: 3-5 pages