Sense of community: A definition and theory



For several years many of us at Peabody College have participated in the evolution of a theory of community, the first conceptualization of which was presented in a working paper (McMillan, 1976) of the Center for Community Studies. To support the proposed definition, McMillan focused on the literature on group cohesiveness, and we build here on that original definition. This article attempts to describe the dynamics of the sense-of-community force — to identify the various elements in the force and to describe the process by which these elements work together to produce the experience of sense of community.