Death of the village fete: a community study of Westhall, Suffolk.

Finch, Jonathan (2007) Death of the village fete: a community study of Westhall, Suffolk. BSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Community has had a far from simple past throughout academic thought. The word 'community' is used to describe both a geographical space and a collective people. The boundaries between these two entities are very blurred, but just how much does one influence another? This study investigates the hypothesis that a common geographical boundary is only a very small part of a community. This paper aims to investigate this hypothesis through the case study of the small, rural village of Westhall, Suffolk. The following study begins by attempting to clear up some of the confusion and ambiguity around the definition of 'community'. The study area is then introduced with a brief history and characterisation of the village. The main aim of this study is an attempt to understand what is at the heart of community and how a sense of community is created. A survey was carried out on a demographic representation of the village population in an attempt to gain primary data on the villagers varying opinions of community life in Westhall, and the differing factors that affect their experience of community. McMillan and Chavis' (1986) work on Psychological Sense of Community, and the various writings on Social Capital were very influential in this study. Comparisons are made to previous studies and national census data to set the study in a wider context. The study proves the hypothesis through the analysis of the results, concluding that social interaction and networking are essential in the formation of community and that geographical space is a very small element. The assumption that a group of people living in close proximity to each other is a community is proven to be grossly false.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Department of Geography
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2011 12:48
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:13

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