Analysis of Different Types of Communities

A community is a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common. People share similar interests and goals. It’s a large social unit with comparable norms, religion, values, or identity. Community is important. Having a community is imperative for survival. “Communities are both real and imaginary “products” of our personal and social environment”. Community is connected to individuals and society. There are many different types of communities. In an essay on communities McKerrow's types of these communities are analysed.

McKerrow outlines the primary communities. They are personal, social, technical, fictional and philosophical. Within communities’ people will communicate in public or private. Everyone has their own private and public self. “A kind of interaction in which two or more people maintain what they construe to be incompatible positions”. It’s all about the “personal sphere”. It’s the opposite of public sphere which is an area in social life where individuals can come together to freely discuss and identify societal problems, and through that discussion influence political action. Personal sphere is a certain sector or societal life in which an individual enjoys a degree of authority, unrestricted by interventions from governmental or other institutions. McKerrow talks about the nature of argument. Sometimes arguments have consequences but it’s important to explain your side and to listen to the other person’s side as well. If the people communicate, they could work out their differences. Communication starts out public but the longer the relationship with that person the conversation becomes more private. You start to get to know the person and can share things with them you wouldn’t with others. Language and dialect are what is needed for successful communication.

In a personal community, people chose how they want to go about things. They are “free to select their own standards for what constitutes appropriate communication, for what will serve as a criteria for reasonableness or adequacy in an argument'. The results will share what other communities replicate on. There will be a shared agreement with the community. An argument may be constrained. But someone who doesn’t like the choices being made may result in the individual to be distressed and respond in a negative way such as in violent or psychical action. This type of argument is argumentative. “Argumentative behavior expands the nature of the disagreement from a simple request-response scenario to a series of interchanges which, hopefully, end in a resolution of the dispute”.

I am in my own personal community with my community being work. My job is a sales associate at Kohls where I have different tasks every day. Sometimes my manager will have me working on the register, putting clothes away, tidying up to make everything in the store look good and to help people if they have questions. My job is my own personal community for many reasons. I share the same geographical place with my coworkers. There is a culturally marked identity where individuals have strong similarities to myself and others. We have a common interest among us. There is a positive sentiment acted at work. However, there isn’t so much a part of the community with political values.

My coworkers and I are going to the same place in the same city when we work. The similarities between us have to do with the job. Many of us are doing the same task. Our goal is all the same in which we do our job the best as we can and have the results to show for it. We all want the store to look clean and not messy. We want the store to have a lot of customers generating better sales. I know my goal is trying to get as much done as possible in my shift. A lot of us share interest in many different areas. I work with a lot of people around my age and go to college. Obviously, I can relate to them. Being around the same age we share similar beliefs about our job. We have the luxury looking at this job as temporary, we are not going to be stuck there forever. Whereas the older women and men who work there will have different beliefs. They take the job very seriously because this is their main job. We all share positive sentiments because everyone is always kind to each other. When it comes to political values those are often not expressed since it’s a private opinion. I know a decent amount about my coworkers, but I don’t know about all their personal opinions. We aren’t the closest, but we are still are own community. Nobody understands the job unless you are working there experiencing it yourself.

There are also communities within a community. Working at Kohls can be considered one and working at the same store. However not everyone has the same job description. There are workers in every department whether that’s shoes, clothing, or home. People are just strictly cashiers. Some work at customer service. Others are overnight workers where they put out all the merchandise. There are five managers and the store manager who is the main boss. These are the separate communities. We all share our frustrations with each other especially people working in the same department. They are going to understand the most how you are feeling. We also have our own ways of performing tasks. At the beginning of job when we first started, we will follow a certain way we are told. We will continue to do that way for awhile until we start getting used to our job. Eventually we come up with our own way because it’s easier and gets the job done faster. Everyone has their own role in each community. It’s important we help and support each other for the community’s stake. To have a good open community it’s something that is crucial.

There are many fictional communities. We see them on television and in movies. One television show that resembles a good example of community would be The Office. It’s about everyday life of office employees at the Scranton, Pennsylvania branch of the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. It chronicles many different characters that you might see at the office. Michael Scott the regional branch manager is the main character on the show. He always tries to make the office a fun place to be engaging with coworkers in activities he’s planned. It has very realistic moments.

These coworkers are their own community. On the show, there are many instances where they are seeing each other outside the office. They are a group of friends some even family. Jim Halpert one of the other main characters falls for the receptionist Pam Beesly. Throughout the show you see their romance progress and eventually they become husband and wife. The Office does a great job of making you want to be a part of this community. While watching the show with so many different characters everyone feels like they can relate to someone. The show makes you feel seen and puts a happy spin on what working in an office is like. A lot of the storylines can be super unrealistic and even a little crazy but as a viewer it makes you wish you were them. Sometimes they fight and argue with each other, but that’s what people of a community can do. When you are part of a community it’s important to get everyone’s feedback on issues.

In the show this often happens where they will find a way to communicate finding a solution. Michael will have them doing group activities so they can communicate. One episode titled “Beach Games” is a great display of everyone connecting. They all go to the beach and participate in survival activities. The episode has people working together, winning the challenges and surviving the outdoors. All the workers face their own obstacles. During the episode, one character named Dwight Schrute confronts Michael because they find out why they are really at the beach. We learn Michael got offered a promotion and he is looking for someone to take his job. Therefore, he has everyone competing to see who wins it will be easier for him to decide. Otherwise, he will have a hard time picking anyone. He is not a tough boss and wants a good work environment. Dwight yells at him and has a somewhat violent outburst. He considers Michael his best friend and feels betrayed that he was lied too. Everyone else in the office are upset about what they are hearing too. They argue about who’s more qualified to get the position. Eventually Michael tells the truth and discusses it. They can understand where he is coming from. There are no more arguments or outbursts and they realize the best way to solve the problem is by communicating with one another. That’s what having a personal community is all about, listening and learning. You learn a lot of information because of the people around you.

My job and the fictional community of The Office are some prime examples of a personal community. You can compare the two communities. The communities are similar in that it’s a group of all different personalities working together. McKerrow says “within this community, individuals are free to select their own standards for what constitutes appropriate communication, for what will serve as a criteria for reasonableness or adequacy in an argument.” Inside both communities’ individuals are free to do to their own thing. With free choice in extreme cases community is more than just a few individuals, everyone can ignore the standard it’s given. McKerrow says arguing with others can be a good thing because it can solve problems. “Argumentative behavior increases the response method and helps the ability to find a resolution”. Personal community the “immediacy of risk depends on adherence to three preconditions for the conduct of argumentative discourse: 

  • The arguers agree to hear each other out; 
  • They agree on the standards of judgment by which their claims will be evaluated; 
  • They agree to accept the other’s position if their own proves to be indefensible”. It’s a good way to showcase what issues are relevant.


Underwood and Frey discuss communication and community clarifying the connection across the communication community. They argue that you need communication for a community to survive. There are two perspectives dealing with communication community. They are the transmission perspective and constitutive perspective. Transmission perspective “explores how communities use communication as a tool to accomplish particular purposes”. A community is seen as already being formed. They share common goals and desires. Many scholars and reporters use transmission perspective. Constitutive perspective “focus on how communication creates is constitutive of community”. A community has not already been formed. It has not been formed. Depew and Peters argued that “prior to communicative interaction, there are no individual’s posterior to communicative interaction, there are only individuals who are members of communities”.

Dialectical tensions are part of the attributes to community. It results from “simultaneously holding two interdependent, contradictory ideas that are not merely different from one another or in conflict with one another; they are the underlying opposing tendencies in a phenomenon which mutually exclude and simultaneously presuppose one another”. Dialectical tension is needed for communication in community. There are six dialectical tensions. Consumer-producer tension is accepting community to what it is currently and helping change the meaning. Individual-collective tension supports personal space and promises to other communities. Place-space tension is aligned with but not subjected to a psychical location. Ideal-future everyday present tension regards all future ideas while also pertaining to the present. Participation-apathy tension accepts everyone even if they are different. Us-them tension is similarities and differences from people. These diverse types of dialectical tensions are to help conceptualize communication communities.

To sum up, community is always changing. There are many definitions to define what it is and there is no wrong answer. People interpret what a community is and differs from others. Some people see it as a group or gathering of others at the same place and same time. Many people see it as having the same views and opinions. Others believe it is individuals who have the same job, family, friends what they are interested in. All communities are significant, and all have their own meaning. McKerrow argues all communities are needed for their own purpose.  

08 December 2022
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