Community has been described and interpreted in different ways. It has been explained by different people in their own understanding and views. The concept of community could be associated with the beliefs, culture and interests. In this essay, the concept of community, what it is and the different types of community will be discussed. Also, the association between community, youth and its influence on the environment will be acknowledged.
In addition, in this essay, issues on ethnicity, culture, youth, racism and crime will be discussed. The question ‘what a community is’ will be addressed. The concept of community has been widely discussed and there has not been a particular definition for community and its concept. Community has been recognized and described only as the environment where people co-habit. It is however not particularly right. Clark (1973:397) describes a community as ‘a group of people with geographical interest and have a unique relationship within the group’.
The Oxford dictionary describes it as ‘a group of people living together in a place or having the same religion, race etc’. Also, in Rothman et al’s view, it could also be seen as ‘a structure of relationships which a localized population provides its daily requirements’. A more detailed definition was given to community by Buchroth and Parkin (2010:29) describing it as ‘a place, or a town or a city etc, where a group of people conform to a set of guidelines or rules, so that they all have something in common; people who do not fit into this bill are often pushed out of this community’.
All these explain community in different views according to each writer’s perception. They have all explained the classification of word and its aim. However, understanding the concept of community goes beyond the writer’s view or assumption on what the meaning is. Many geographical communities including Ireland, Scotland, Wales and London in the United Kingdom are considered one of many in the country.
Although, the land space mapped on the world zone paper is a part of community, there re other criteria that are associated with the word. The concept of community is wide and cannot be put aside without knowing the meaning of community and how it is formed. Community can be described as the way of life of people: its unique language, arts, the norms and cultural values, politics, the music and economic factors. The mode of dressing, food, language and religion also makes the people different. In addition, the beliefs of the individual and the interests of everyone as a person and as a group are put in consideration.
Tyler (2003) prefers to explain it as ‘local human network’. According to Garvin and Tropman (199-) cited by Rotman et al(200-) communities are constituted when a group of people form a common location, interest, identification, culture and have common activities. When a locality is based on land space, there is a need for the recognition of the individual…the need for a sense of belonging. MacIver and Page describes this as the ‘we feeling’ when an individual identifies himself as a person and as a part of the group (Clark 1973:403).
In addition, key qualities and attributes are expected from one individual to the other to create peace and unity in the group. Tolerance is an aspect of community value that cannot fail to be noticed. Every individual has his own angle realization and responsibility and this must be recognized and understood by other members of the group. Furthermore, there must be trust within; otherwise there will be a collapse in the relationships in this community. The word ‘reprocity’ is a strong value that must be included in every community to make it functional and realistic.
An interesting group in the community includes the people. Population shares a characteristic that are linked by factors like religious beliefs; sexual orientation; occupation or ethnic origin in this group. As an individual position himself in the community where he is located, he contributes to the development of his locality. In a society, he shares the spirit of solidarity, togetherness and social cohesion within the society. Despite living under a locality, an individual often belong to other communities outside his or her geographical domain.
On occasions, people discover that they belong to diverse groups with special interests that make them members to these communities. There are instances when a group of people who live in different land space or geographical zone. On occasions, there have been people with a collective voice in different mapped out areas of the world. This may be as a result of migration. An example is when an Asian couple migrates from their birth place in Bombay, India and decides to settle in the United Kingdom. When the family broadens with children, it encourages diversity of society in life of the younger generation.
Language, food, religion and other beliefs in India are introduced to the children, even though they reside in the United Kingdom. Tyler (2003) explains that there are more to the buildings and accommodation of the society make up the society. He goes on to explain the idea that it is a notable fact that relationships are developed among the local group. It may be taken to account that the good function of every community depends on the population that resides in and within the environment. However, the ethnicity of every individual is unique to him or her even if it is shared.
There are social interactions that make individual accomplish a sense of appreciation in different societies. Generally, countries with diverse culture like the United Kingdom, United States of America and Scotland have people with different ethnic values come as a group to form a society of interest. Some may be the interests in reading (book clubs), sports, fashion or the type of music listened to. This undisputedly, does not segregate them from enjoying more of the societal contribution and modern technologies that bring people universally together.
According to Tyler (2003) ‘family is the first community’. However groups of family come together, they become a clan and a community as a whole. Friendships are developed and chosen as individuals and networks are established. There is a need for cohesion in every popularized environment. The word globalization has been used more often in Britain today. According to Beck (2000:11) it is ‘ the process through sovereign national states are criss crossed and undermined by varying prospects of power, orientations, identities and networks’.
Giddens (1990) describes it to be ‘an intensification of worldwide social relations which link distant localities in such a way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice versa’. Another exclusive group that is recognized is the symbolic community. The groups are on occasions recognized by their symbolic attributes which distinguishes them from others. Smith (2001) cited Alan and Crow (1994:6) and explains that people with symbolic values play crucial roles because of their achievements in the sense of belonging.
People’s culture and value sometimes bound them to this community. For instance, ethnic groups are often recognized with their attires. Often people are recognized by their mode of dressing. In Scotland, men often wear kilts on occasions. Africans are also known to dress up in colorful printed attires. Rastafarians dreadlock and beard is also a means of recognition. To distinguish between a homosexual and heterosexual, earrings play a public figure as it discloses the individual sexual participation. A different symbolic group that is often recognized is the ‘ring as a marital symbol’ group.
The finger at which the ring is placed also play different role. It speaks for the individual if he is married, divorced, widowed or engaged. These symbolic values and their representation are crucial by events to individual identity. Culture is an important aspect of community. In every society, individual life depends on the cultural values that make the group a body. Karl Marx believed that culture is only possible in human form and in their ways because animals do not possess the concept to ‘form things in accordance to beauty’. (Haralambos and Holborn)
According to Beck (2000:11) that was cited by Morgan an Reiner (2002), he defines globalization as ‘ the sovereign national states that are criss crossed and are undermined by transnational actors with varying prospects of power, orientations, identities and networks. In Giddens (1990) view, it is ‘an intensification of worldwide social relations which link distant locality in such a way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice versa’. An important value of community is its integration.
As the community begins o experience change because of migration, the society begins to lose the originality of its value. Residents who cannot tolerate these changes move to a more conducive environment. This makes the society less labeled as an ethnic community. A multicultural community is developed by different ethnicity because of integration and acceptance of immigrants from other groups. However, when integration becomes rampant, overpopulation creates an overwhelming problem and cohesion becomes a debate. As a result, lack of tolerance by the original residents emigrates for a more conducive neighborhood, therefore losing the norms and values that existed.
As well as this, new cultural and ethnic values are introduced. This may cause segregation and loss of cultural values. In the recent times, the community has become a scary place and there it calls for a sense of security. Crime has made every community crumble under its norms and governance. Young people gather as a group of gang members involving in different types of crime ranging from underage or indecent alcohol intake, drug abuse, smoking, sexual involvement that leads to rape, stealing, burglary both of private homes and business places, threatening and killing with all sort if barbaric weapons and the love of fashion.
The youth today believe that violence makes them less vulnerable, acquire some sort of defenses and it ascertains recognition and supremacy. Above all, it is mainly for material purposes (Farrington, 1996) Modern technologies have also contributed to its demise and the encouragement of crime on the streets. It has exposed youths to different harmful weapons ranging from plastic explosives to bombs. Crimes like fraud have been reported and recorded to be higher over the last twenty years. One of the factors that have made crime an increasing problem is the size of population.
As far as 1960s, the increase in population has increased crime itself Neitzel (1979). According to the National statistics on population, the Major of London in 2003 also published a report on issues that affects Britain stating that the large populated community is as a result of immigrants being granted citizenship especially asylum seekers and refugees. In his view, it has contributed to factors that affect every community. As a result of variables which include poverty and deprivation, Britain has become less conducive and therefore crime rates have escalated.
Music has played a significant role in the lives of youth and gang culture. Its message has sent crime motivations to teenage making them live in an illusion of drugs, guns and knife crime to be a whelming and rational life to get the ‘recognition’ they desire. Dr. Assibiy-Mensah, between 1994 and 1995 had investigated the role of music and sports in youth life and he discovered that these athletes and musicians have been recognized as role models instead of educators, (Okoronkwo 2008:6).
The influences of drugs in youth groups as seen in musical videos have instigated a lot of street crimes that has created fear in the lives of commuters and business owners. On the quest to be recognized, gangs create a body of negative characteristics to acquire power and control either by stealing or carrying a weapon. Gangs’ crimes are only motivated by the individualism and personal gain and its effect on the society can be believed to be chaotic. The effect of carrying these weapons justifies in a negative impact on the youths as well as the society.
An environmental influence on male gender with poor education is yet unskilled affects the involvement with the female counterparts. The female gender could often endangered and maltreated and on the streets. It may appear that the male gender may have the upper hand in the society. To this, one of the crimes that affect the community is rape and it may result to violence or death. Recorded issues like Bennett, Reid and Thomson who were murdered due to sex related issues in 2008(youth deaths :11).
Taking into account that, community may be influenced by gender, these incidents cannot be overlooked as it is part of an everyday human activity. The national statistics on crime had it recorded that although, crime was high with 452,364 offences in the year 2007/ 08. It record slightly reduced in number to 421,157 in 2008/09 (oxford criminology). In the same state, youth crimes have been high although statistics claims it is gradually reducing. On the other hand, the use of weapons and sharp instruments has predominantly controlled the teenagers of Great Britain.
As gang culture has been an issue in the community, youth crime has become a vital practice among teenagers using these dangerous weapons. A record of gun and knife deaths that shows that forty three teenagers died as a result of violence in 2008 and within the inner city London, fifty was recorded dead in the same manner in 2007. However, boroughs like Hackney, Brent, Red bridge have been labeled due to incidents of youth deaths and teenage crimes and the gravity of these disturbing issues in the community (youth deaths reference: 5).
A review on the social policy research in criminology (Farrington April 1996, page1) states that major risk factors for youth crime are: – Low income and poor housing – Living in deteriorated inner city areas – A high degree of impulsiveness and hyperactivity – Low intelligence and low school attainment – Poor parental supervision and harsh and erratic discipline – Parental conflict and broken families – Peer pressure – Availability of drugs Due to these discoveries, there should be contemplation on how youth crime can be either reduced or totally eradicated.
To reduce or combat crime on our streets, there is a need for critical resolution to the endangered public and a more peaceful promise to the upcoming generation. The first point of call to reduce this unruly behavior in the society is the family. Morals and respect for others that are lacking should be instilled in the youths. The children should be shown love and should be appreciated and not criticized for all their mistakes. Parents should encourage the children without discrimination because youths of today lack self confidence and therefore inhabit bullying as a behavior or becomes the prey and is bullied.
Delinquent friends should be distant from and also there should be a feeling of responsibility to themselves and the community they reside in. Also, schools are responsible for the upbringing of individual identity and realization. It should not be seen as a building where young people acquire reading, writing or numeracy skills but it should help every child identify and develop hidden talents as also encourage the use to benefit the community and the nation as a whole. On occasions, inter-school activities should be introduced to develop sense of encouragement and for the individual, a sense of accomplishment.
The education curriculum should include awareness of talents at the primary level like music, sports or craft and arts. In addition to this view, social class that have influenced the curriculum and every class should embrace a cohesive community. Furthermore; the community has a part to play in the clarity of this community demise. Britain is not a gun-legalized nation therefore the import of ammunition should be thoroughly scrutinized and probably discouraged by dealers who are not government representatives.
Although, the government has funding for groups like Youth Crime Action, Tackling Knives Action Programme (youth crimes: 2) and some other organizations, it is of personal opinion that more youth development centers should be open to teenagers. Adding to this, there should be funding for the development of talents. To top this, a rule governing youth activities should be discussed in the House of Commons. Above all, teenagers should have a sense of security for the future that jobs will be available when education is completed.
Job opportunities will not only reduce crime but save government funding on benefits It has been controversial on how the media has portrayed the teenage deaths as a racial involvement. Although some facts have been discovered on most occasions, teenagers of the same racial backgrounds that involve themselves in the incidents (youth death: 4). Instead of labeling crimes on race and cultural background, the media may encourage posters and adverts on awareness like the Hate Knife ,Kill Crime adverts.
Okoronkwo (2008), argued that although media has labeled gangs to be more on black youths, ‘behavior may label a criminal, but it is not this behavior in itself that constitute crime(Mancie,2004:117)’. In summary, it is never too late to change the nation, community or oneself. Realizing potentials and developing it will not only benefit the individual but raw talents can change the future positively for the new generations. Taking into account that every community is very important based on its population, beliefs, ethnics, culture and geographical location.