Hi. Welcome to the site. Please check out the About Us, and if you have a question about crime and/or punishment, perhaps look at some previous questions along those lines first.
Welcome to Anarchy101 Q&A, where you can ask questions and receive answers about anarchism, from anarchists.

What is the social fabric that holds a community together?

0 votes
So in discussion here on community and what it is, some wondered what the social fabric was since it was considered vague. I figured by defining this it would help understand what a community is and what kind of community anarchists may be in or create.
asked Dec 22, 2013 by hpwombat (4,070 points)

2 Answers

0 votes
For me, it would seem that anarchidt communities often exist around social centers, like infoshops, locally. This site and the anarchy planet, littke black cart, infoshop.org, Anarchy magazine, Fifth Estate, etc. would be ways of sharing a broader, English speaking community for anarchists while protests often serve as much of a connecting point as skills shares abd group dumpster diving for many anarchists. This social fabric need not include any of the above, but the are examples of share commonality among individuals, like sharing cultural values. Without a shared interest there is no community and without functioning ways to interact socially, there is no visibility.

Yes an anarchist community is not special necessarily, but all calls for community are an attempt to bring more social connection. The social fabric of a community is woven by the many lines of interest share by an identity of people, with gatherings being the primary way of building a community.
answered Dec 23, 2013 by hpwombat (4,070 points)
Your comment of "woven by the many lines of " is instructive here.  Insular communities constantly retrace the same (or similar) yarn-paths, reinforcing connections among the people resident in their community.  Diffuse communities (urban/suburban) spread their connections over a wider geography and population, resulting in more tenuous connections between individuals, (there are exceptions of course in urban insular communities).

Having returned to my rural home community after an extended period of exile, it is interesting to observe my families and neighbors as an outsider.  The friendly gossip they call 'visiting', could be viewed as an extrapolation of the 'contact cries' of many social animals - "i know you, you are one of mine".  It is a recollection and a refreshing of the many and varied social ties binding the two individuals, and their families, social groups, and arbitrary identities.  The depth of the contacts complicates superficial appearances, because superficial ties refresh multiple layers of social connections; also the limited social contacts among the population limits dilution of the effect of contact, and allows for reinforcement by 'virtual' social contact - "hey, i saw so-and-so in the credit union today, they said ..." - this reinforces social connections with people who never saw each other physically.

This has significance as a daily reality in communes and collectives; and in any ecological future we hope to shape where we live in numbers proportionate to what nature can provide.  The critical feature of social fabrics is the _depth_ of the connections, not merely the breadth.
0 votes
I'd say it's primarily mutual benefit. Having a reason to be a part of a community.

We need to cooperate in order to do most things, because living by just a family or by ourselves is very demanding and not very smart. The more people, the more diversified the things that can be done, because we can share the labor. It's multitasking really.

What is done depends on what people want to do. We are all motivated by particular things. If we find more people that are motivated by the same things as we are, we cooperate. What consists of "social fabric" is a personal thing. Some people are motivated by social relationships and socializing, some about doing things, some about caring about others, some about organizing the community etc. Look around, people do and live for different things and they perceive themselves as certain types of people e.g. organizational, engineering-type, caring etc.
answered Dec 28, 2013 by Reactor (120 points)