Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The need for Community - RSA podcast

The podcast RSA current audio contains recordings from lectures held at the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (in short RSA). Usually these lectures are also compiled into the UChannel Podcast, which makes them to be available in both feeds. And consequently I pick them up, once in the one and then again in the other. This one lecture featuring, among others, Amitai Etzioni, about community, I picked up directly from RSA.

My first encounter with Etzioni, sociology professor at the George Washington University, was through the VPRO program Tegenlicht, where he was featured as an inpsiriation of a new generation of politcians among them Blair, Clinton and Kohl and Dutch Prime Minister J.P. Balkenende. Etzioni's sociology emphasizes values and community. At the RSA he was invited to answer the question whether people need community anymore. Based on my previous knowledge, the reply was expected; of course people do.

The basics of this idea are that the social fabric has gone bad, actually, once you have to 'bring in the lawyers and accountants'. Etzioni argues people need some kind of inner incentive to play by the rules and it is suggested community instills this in the individual. And then the really interesting question is: what is community? Where do you find it? And how does community help the social fabric remain intact? Here you will meet several levels of community and also will find Etzioni point out the darker side of community.

More RSA:
The Public Domain: enclosing the commons of the mind,
Israel and Palestine,
Terror and Martyrdom,