Key Concepts in Community Studies

Tony Blackshaw

After having completely exhausted the entire published field regarding online governance from the practical side of things, especially after Trevor Owens put a very definite nail in the coffin, I decided it was time to start looking in more unusual places to extend my research. Unfortunately, the name “community studies” was already claimed by other fields long predating the internet, such as urban planning and some elements of government bureaucracy. Blackshaw hedges his bets and covers all of them. All of them. ... with the items of my interest being a small, historically recent part of the field, if that.

The thing I found my mind wandering to while reading this were the difficulties I used to have with “postmodernism.” The reason for this was because my undergraduate field, media studies, never had a modernist phase to compare itself against. Even the oldest authors in media scholarship were still pre-postmodernists, in that even if they wanted to have modernist proclivities, the nature of the field still demanded otherwise. All this meant for me at the time was a general confusion when reading the European postmodernist writers, like Baudrillard or Derrida, as they always seemed both overly-complicated while still somehow felt entirely redundant. Yet, I still couldn't shake the feeling that it was supposed to be there, whatever it was. Unthinkingly, we plastered the word “postmodernism” all over the walls, without giving much thought as if it meant anything. ... making matters worse, we were doing it postmodernistly.

By comparison... this introduction to community studies was interesting, since it is a much older field with a much longer history, the split between modernist and postmodernist thought was considerably more sensible and meaningful.

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