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Community Vs Collective

created 2007-08-30 11:40:10

Things to check out on the difference between "community" (stable, more static) and "collective" (fleeting, temporary, disposable).


  • Starting point: Tonnies, F. (1887/1955) Community and Association: a distinction between "gemeinschaft" (community) and "gesellschaft" (association).

    "For Tonnies, the community referred to the old better days,to be found in village and small town settings where enduring social relations of intimacy and solidarity could prevail,whereas the association signified society and business life introducing impersonal,fleeting and contractual relations." (Lindkvist, 2005)

  • Durkheim (1893/1984) "The Division of Labour in Society" : Community is "mechanical solidarity", collectivism is "organic solidarity" - less constraint, more flexibility.

  • Lave and Wenger (1991) "Situated Learning.Legitimate Peripheral Participation"

  • Lindkvist, L. (2005) "Knowledge Communities and Knowledge Collectivities: A Typology of Knowledge Work in Groups", Journal of Management Studies 42:6, Sept 2005.: Collectives place people in organisational roles, rather than in a master/student relationship. Organisation is more important.


  • "Community" = some kind of dream, "the good ol' days". Harmony, not having to worry, etc. But see Durkehim, above.
  • "Collectives" = market-driven, maybe people brought together for a specific purpose.
  • The difference is relative, surely. "Strong" bonds vs "Weak" bonds may just be a quantitative thing, but maybe it leads to other qualitative things.


Does this refer to web 2.0 business at all?

(See also: On Capitalism Vs Community Granularity Of Collectives )


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