"Us" and "Them" - The Importance of Language in Creating a Shared Vision of Change

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This presentation for the Community Development Society Annual Conference 2013 explores how language shapes communities and their ability to come together behind a shared vision.

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  • We are being too imprecise in our language use when we call online communities “communities”. They are pale imitations.The meaning of community is fragmenting so much that we can no longer assume agreement on what “community” is. We must work to achieve that basic agreement before we can truly advance a new vision. “Community” cannot exist without a set of affirmative responsibilities. We're desperately sticking the label "community" onto any gathering of people because we don't know what else to call them. But "community" comes not just with a group of people, but with some set of affirmative responsibilities to those other people. A community persists even as people come and go, but if a person can leave without the community experiencing some sort of impact, it cannot truly be called a community.
  • "Us" and "Them" - The Importance of Language in Creating a Shared Vision of Change

    1. 1. “Us” and “Them” The Importance of Language in Creating a Shared Vision of Change Dennis Deery dennis@irishrose.biz http://irishrose.biz
    2. 2. my home, your playground
    3. 3. communitas
    4. 4. togetherness
    5. 5. responsibility
    6. 6. …it must be admitted that the political skills, which order the life of the larger community, always lag behind the technical skills which create the potential society in which a greater order is required. -- Reinhold Niebuhr

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