What is Community? Basic Concepts in Sociology (updated 2023)

Conceptualising Community

Community is a term we apply to a pioneer settlement, e.g., a village, a city, a tribe or a nation. Whenever the members of any group (small or large) live together in such a way that they share the basic conditions of common life, we call that group a community. It is an important and basic concept in Sociology.

Community includes in itself all our social relationships. Within the community, people can carry on their economic, political, religious, educational and other activities. However, in modern times we may find much interdependence among communities. Thus community may be but need not be self-sufficient. Communities exist within greater communities; the town within a region, the region within a nation, and the nation within the world community.


In general, a community is a group of people living in a particular area and having a feeling of common living and identity.


Community is “a social group with some degree of we-feeling living in a given area.”

Ogburn and Nimkoff:

“A community is a group or collection of groups that inhibit a locality.”

MacIver and Page:

“A community is an area of social living marked by some degree of social coherence.”

Elements (Bases) of Community

MacIver and Page have listed two bases of community:

Locality: A community always occupies a territorial area. The strong bond of solidarity that we find among the members of a community is derived from the condition of locality (living in a definite geographic area). To some extent, this local bond has been weakened in the modern world by the extending facilities of communication. However, the extension of communication itself is responsible for the expansion of communities far and wide.

Community Sentiment: Locality (though a necessary condition) is not enough to create a community. It needs a feeling of belonging together (we-feeling). There must be a common living with its awareness of sharing a way of life as well as the common earth.

Features of Community

For a better understanding of the concept of community, the following are listed its main features (characteristics):

  • A community is a group of people.
  • It has a delimited geographic area or locality.
  • It is marked by a common culture and social system.
  • There exists a consciousness among the members about their unity and sense of belongingness.
  • Members of a community act collectively in an organised manner. Mostly there exists a division of labour in a community.
  • A community is not deliberately created, it establishes in a natural way. It is much more stable and permanent.
  • Informal means of social control are used in a community.

Thus, simply community is a territorial group of people, who share a common geographic area and culture and also have a feeling of belongingness (community sentiment).


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