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Keywords:

  • communities;
  • community capacity;
  • families;
  • social organization

Abstract: The concept of social organization provides an important framework for understanding families in the context of communities and focuses our attention on norms, networks, and associated processes that typify community life. We discuss the significance of community for understanding family outcomes, discuss challenges in defining community context, define social organization and feature several of its associated components and their linkages, and assess research designs that inform the study of social organization. We conclude by suggesting implications for theory (elaborating social organization community processes), research (incorporating designs and measures that reflect collective processes), and practice (maximizing effects generated by informal and formal networks in communities).