The term community is used extensively in the peer reviewed literature, though it is used differently by researchers across various disciplines. A better understanding of community, as an object of study, is needed to help guide policy, supports and services planning, and to build inclusive communities. This paper presents the results of a review of existing definitions published in peer-reviewed papers from various disciplines studying human behaviours and interactions. It also presents the results of focus groups with four persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities and members of their communities exploring their own definitions of community. Definitions of community extracted from the peer-reviewed literature were compared to identify common themes. Qualitative analysis revealed 13 themes, some more common than others. Focus groups transcripts were also analyzed. Themes identified in the literature review were also found in the focus groups discussion. However, a novel concept related to the notion of community as being composed of people who are unpaid to be part of this network was identified. Based on these results, a definition of community is derived to help further not only academic research in the area, but also to inform policy and practice aiming to build inclusive communities.
Baker, P. M. A., & Ward, A. C. (2002). Bridging Temporal and Spatial ‘Gaps’ the Role of Information and Communication Technologies in Defining Communities. Information, Communication & Society, 5(2)
Bettez, S. C. (2013). Community Building in Social Justice Work: A Critical Approach. Educational Studies, 49, 45-66.
Bloom, J. (1990). The relationship between social support and health. Social Science and Medicine, 30, 635-637.
Capece, G., & Costa, R. (2013). The new neighbourhood in the internet era: network communities serving local communities. Behaviour & Information Technology, 32(5), 438-448.
Chappell, N. L., Funk, L. M., & Allan, D. (2006). Defining Community Boundaries in Health Promotion Research. American Journal of Health Promotion, 21(2), 119-126.
Charles, N. & Crow, G. (2012). Community re-studies and social change. The Sociological Review, 60(3), 399-404.
Charles, N. & Davies, C. A. (2005). Studying the particular, illuminating the general: community studies and community in Wales. The Sociological Review, 53(4), 672-690.
Collins, J. (2015). From hospital to home: the drive to support people with intellectual disabilities in the community. International Journal of Developmental Disabilities, 61(2), 76-82.
Collins, P. H. (2009). The new politics of community. American Sociological Review, 75(1), 7-30.
Colombo, M., & Senatore, A. (2005).The Discursive Construction of Community Identity. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 15, 48-62.
Dunbar, R. (2015). Social networks and their implications for community living for people with a learning disability. International Journal of Developmental Disabilities, 61(2), 101-106.
Dunning, T. (2009). Aging, Activities, & the Internet. Activities, Adaptation & Aging, 33, 263-264.
Ebbesen, E. B., Kjos, G. L., & Konecni, V. J. (1976). Spatial ecology: Its effects on the choice of friends and enemies. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 12, 505–518.
Elliott, B. (2009). Theories of Community in Habermas, Nancy and Agamben: A Critical Evaluation. Philosophy Compass, 4(6), 893-903.
Faruque, F. S., Lofton, S. P., Doddato, T. M., & Mangum, C. (2003). Utilizing Geographic Information Systems in Community Assessment and Nursing Research. Journal of community health nursing, 20(3), 179-191.
Gochenour, P. H. (2006). Distributed Communities and Nodal Subjects. New Media & Society, 8(1), 33-51.
Goodings, L., Locke, A., & Brown, S. D. (2007). Social Networking Technology: Place and Identity in Mediated Communities. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 17, 463-476.
Government of British Columbia. (2014). Accessibility 2024: Making B.C. the Most Progressive Province in Canada for People with Disabilities by 2024. Retrieved from http://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/government/about-the-bc-government/accessible-bc/accessibility-2024/docs/accessibility2024_update_web.pdf
Government of Ontario. (2009). Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, S.O. 2005, c. 11. Retrieved from http://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/05a11
Gusfield, J. R. (1975). Community: A Critical Response. New York: Harper and Row.
Hall, P. D. (2009). [Review of the book Contesting Communities: The Transformation of Workplace Charity, by E. Barman]. American Journal of Sociology, 115(1), 307-309.
Henderson, S. D., & Hodges, S. H. (2007). Music, song, and the creation of community and community spirit by a gay subculture. Sociological Spectrum, 27, 57-80.
Hillery, G. (1955). Definitions of Community: Areas of agreement. Rural Society, 20, 111-125.
Holcombe, S. (2004). The Sentimental Community: A Site of Belonging. A Case Study from Central Australia. The Australian Journal of Anthropology, 15(2), 163-184.
Kadushin, C., Lindholm, M., Ryan, D., Brodsky, A., & Saxe, L. (2005). Why It Is So Difficult to Form Effective Community Coalitions. City & Community, 4(3), 255-275.
Lamothe, R. (2008). John Macmurray's philosophy of community and psychoanalysis. Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 44(4), 581-603.
Lehavot, K., Balsam, K. F., & Ibrahim-Wells, G. D. (2009). Redefining the American quilt: definitions and experiences of community among ethnically diverse lesbian and bisexual women. Journal of Community Psychology, 37(4), 439-458.
Lewis, T. A. (2005). ACTIONS AS THE TIES THAT BIND Love, Praxis, and Community in the Thought of Gustavo Gutierrez. Journal of Religious Ethics, 33(3), 539-567.
Lowrey, W., Brozana, A., Mackay, J. B. (2008). Toward a Measure of Community Journalism. Mass Communication and Society, 11, 275-299.
Lysaght, R., Cobigo, V., Hamilton, K. (2012). Inclusion as a focus of employment related research in intellectual disability from 2000 to 2010: A Scoping Review. Disability and Rehabilitation, 34(16), 1339-1350
MacQueen, K. (2002). What is Community? An Evidence-Based Definition for Participatory Public Health. American Journal of Public Health, 91, 1229-1238
Mahar, A., Cobigo, V., & Stuart H., (2013). Conceptualizing belonging. Disability and Rehabilitation, 35(12), 1026-1032.
Mancini, J. A., Bowen, G. L., & Martin, J. A. (2005). Community Social Organization: A Conceptual Linchpin in Examining Families in the Context of Communities. Family Relations, 54(5), 570-582.
Mancini, J. A., Nelson, J. P., Bowen, G. L., & Martin, J. A. (2006). CHANGING THE WAYS COMMUNITIES SUPPORT FAMILIES TO PREVENT INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE Preventing Intimate Partner Violence. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 13(3-4), 203-227.
Marsh, V. M., Kamuya, D. K., Parker, M. J., & Molyneux, C. S. (2011). Working with Concepts: The Role of Community in International Collaborative Biomedical Research. Public Health Ethics, 4(1), 26-39.
Martin, L., & Cobigo, V. (2011). Definitions matter in understanding social inclusion. Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities, 8(4), 276-282.
Martin, L., Grandia, P., Cobigo, V., & Ouellette-Kuntz, H. (Early online). From Framework to Practice: Person-Directed Planning in the Real World. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities
Mcclellan, E. D. (2011). Narrative as Vernacular Rhetoric: Understanding Community Among Transients, Tourists and Locals. Storytelling, Self, Society, 7, 188-210.
Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis: An expanded sourcebook (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Miller, F. (2011). Aristotle's Political Theory. Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aristotle-politics/
Moje, E. B. (2000). Critical Issues: Circles of Kinship, Friendship, Position, and Power: Examining the Community in Community-Cased Literacy Research. Journal of Literacy Research, 32(77), 77-112. doi:10.1080/10862960009548065
Morry, M. M. (2007). Relationship Satisfaction as a Predictor of Perceived Similarity among Cross-Sex Friends: A Test of the Attraction-Similarity Model. Journal of Social Personal Relationships, 24(1), 117-138.
Newcomb, T.M. (1960). Varieties of interpersonal attraction. In D. Cartwright & A. Zander (Eds.), Group dynamics: Research and theory (2nd ed., pp. 104-119). Evanston, Illinois: Row, Peterson and Co.
Nieckarz, Jr., P. P. (2005). Community in Cyber Space?: The Role of the Internet in Facilitating and Maintaining a Community of Live Music Collecting and Trading. City & Community, 4(4), 403-423.
Nisbett, R. E., & Masuda, T. (2003). Culture and point of view. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 100(19), (11163-11170).
Parliament of Canada. (2012). Canada and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Retrieved from http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/LOP/ResearchPublications/2012-89-e.htm
Parsons, T. (1960). Structure and Process in Modern Society. Illinois: The Free Press of Glencoe.
Patrick, D. L., & Wickizer, T. M. (1995). Community and Health. In B. C. Amick, S. Levine, A. R. Tarlov & D. C. Walsh (Eds.), Society and Health (pp. 46-92). New York: Oxford University Press.
Pérez, D., Lefèvre, P., Romero, M. I., Sánchez, L., De Vos, P., & Van der Stuyft, P. (2009). Augmenting frameworks for appraising the practices of community-based health interventions. Health Policy and Planning, 24, 335-341.
Philip, T. M., Way, W., Garcia, A. D., Schuler-Brown, S., & Navarro, O. (2013). When educators attempt to make “community” a part of classroom learning: The dangers of (mis)appropriating students’ communities into schools. Teaching and Teacher Education, 34, 174-183.
Piselli, F. (2007). Communities, Places, and Social Networks. American Behavioral Scientist, 50(7), 867-878.
Pooley, J. A., Cohen, L., & Pike, L. T. (2005). Can sense of community inform social capital?. The Social Science Journal, 42, 71-79.
Pope, C., Ziebland, S., & Mays, N. (2000). Qualitative research in health care: Analyzing qualitative data. British Medical Journal, 320, 114–116.
Prezza, M., et al. (2001). Sense of community referred to the whole town: its relations with neighbouring, loneliness, life satisfaction, and area of residence. Journal of Community Psychology, 29 (1), 29–52.
Ragin, D. F., Ricci, E., Rhodes, R., Holohan, J., Smirnoff, M., & Richardson, L. D. (2008). Defining the ‘‘community’’ in community consultation for emergency research: Findings from the community VOICES study. Social Science & Medicine, 66, 1379-1392.
Rodriquez, J. (2013). Narrating Dementia: Self and Community in an Online Forum. Qualitative Health Research, 23(9), 1215-1227.
Rothblum, E. (2010). Where is the ‘Women’s Community?’ Voices of Lesbian, Bisexual, and Queer Women and Heterosexual Sisters. Feminism & Psychology, 20(4), 454-472.
Sampson, R. J. (2001). How do communities undergird or undermine human development? Relevant contexts and social mechanisms. In A. Booth & A. C. Crouter (Eds.), Does it take a village? Community effects on children, adolescents, and families (pp. 3-30). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Sánchez, E. (2004). Organization and Leadership in the Participatory Community. Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community, 27(1), 7-23.
Schrecker, S. (2009). Qu'est ce que la communauté? Réflexions sur le concept et son usage in Mana 16. Paris: L'Harmattan.
Services and Supports to Promote the Social Inclusion of Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act, S.O. c.14. (2008). Retrieved from http://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/08s14
Shaull, R. W. (2004). [Review of the book Community: A Human Becoming Perspective, by R. R. Parse]. Complementary Health Practice Review, 9(3), 208-212.
Singer, M. (2006). What is the “Drug User Community”?: Implications for Public Health. Human Organization, 65(1), 72-80.
Stone, L. (1992). Disavowing Community. In H. Alexander (Ed.), Philosophy of Education (pp. 93-101). Champaign: Philosophy of Education Society.
Theodori, G. (2005). Community and community development in resource-based areas: Operational definitions rooted in an interactional perspective. Society and Natural Resources, 18(7), 661–669.
Tönnies, F. (1957). Community and Society. (C. P. Loomis, Trans.). East Lansing: Michigan State University Press. (Original work published 1887).
United Nations. (2007). Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Retrieved from http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=61
United Nations. (2015). CRPD and Optional Protocol Signatures and Ratifications. Retrieved from http://www.un.org/disabilities/documents/maps/enablemap.jpg
Vasta, E. (2004). Community, the State and the Deserving Citizen: Pacific Islanders in Australia. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 30(1), 195-213.
Vaughan, D. (2011). The importance of capabilities in the sustainability of information and communications technology programs: the case of remote Indigenous Australian communities. Ethics and Information Technology, 13, 131-150.
Ven, T. V. (2005). The community construction of the underage drinker. Deviant Behaviour, 26, 63-83.
Vered, A. (2010). Community as “Good to Think With”: The Productiveness of Strategic Ambiguities. Anthropologica, 52(2), 357-363.
Vogl, G. (2008). Work as Community: Narratives of Solidarity and Teamwork in the Contemporary Workplace, Who Owns Them?. Sociological Research Online, 14(4), 4.
Wellman, B. (2001). Physical place and cyberplace: The rise of personalized networking. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 25(2), 227-252.
Wilkinson, K. P. (1991). The Community in Rural America. New York: Greenwood Press.
World Health Organization. (2010). Community-based rehabilitation guidelines. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/disabilities/cbr/guidelines/en/