Is Sociology Soluble in Cognitive Science ? A Case Study : the Concept of Community

Author(s) : Salvino A. Salvaggio & Paolo Barbesino

Bibliographic details : University of Sussex Working Paper

Date of Publication : 1997

Executive summary : Talking about community has an important communicative advantage: one can refer to it and discuss about it without feeling compelled to explain what one is talking about. Once a distinction is drawn between community and society, community and the idea it conveys of 'smooth, peaceful, harmonious interaction' (Luhmann, 1987:124-25) is overloaded with a sense of nostalgia and regret for its loss. Although considered not to be in good taste among social scientists during the 1960s in the wake of its functionalist legacy and the sense of 'conservative consensualism' it conveyed (Day & Murdoch, 1993:83), nowadays the concept of community is becoming popular again as a tool for social analysis, whereas a return to community is increasingly seen as the remedy against the impersonal features of modern society. However forceful this plea for a return to community may appear, one could still wonder whether the instructions it usually provide are sufficiently clear to lead us safely there.

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