Community II

Community as a verb — ‘something done to or in the company of others.’

#observingcommunity #quotes

‘Community’ has come to reflect primarily positive emotions and an idea of belonging to a community, often thought of as a community of equals, rather than actual modes of social interaction or forms of social and economic organisation with accompanying power struggles and inequalities. … The concept of ‘community’ can, for instance, be instrumentalised and claimed as a sales slogan or used for PR as when customers and users are presented by companies as ‘brand communities’ or ‘user communities’ even though there is little contact among them and they have no influence on how they are presented to the public or the market.

— Maja Hojer Bruun and Cathrine Hasse

Helen, another Reading-based Boater, stated in an interview that the boating community was “people of like mind. So even though you don’t know anybody, there’s a support system there if you need it. I mean, there was a time when I towed a gin palace [an expensive leisure boat] out in Windsor when they got stuck when the river dropped. I did it because you’re a community. It’s about being on your own and not on your own.” Community, in this sense, is very much a verb, something that must be done to or in the company of others.

— Benjamin Bowles


Bowles, B. (2022). ‘The linear village? Chasing “community” amongst boat dwellers on the waterways of South East England’, in Kołodziej-Durnaś, A., Sowa, F., Grasmeier, M.C. (eds.), Maritime Spaces and Society Vol 1., Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden: pp. 185–201.

Bruun, M.H., Hasse, C. (2022). ‘Communities, collectives, and categories’, in: Bruun, M.H., Wahlberg, A., Douglas-Jones, R., Hasse, C., Hoeyer, K., Kristensen, D.B., Winthereik, B.R. (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of the Anthropology of Technology, Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore: pp. 381–398.