Changing perspectives on the insider/outsider distinction in community sociology

Crow, Graham P., Allan, Graham A. and Summers, Marcia (2001) Changing perspectives on the insider/outsider distinction in community sociology. Community, Work and Family, 4, (1), 29-48. (doi:10.1080/136688000200032443).


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This article reports on a community study which explores the nature of the distinction between insiders and outsiders in contemporary community life. Although the presence of this distinction is reported in many community studies, detailed examination of how it operates in practice reveals that insider status is open to negotiation. A person's claims to be an insider may be based on other grounds besides length of residence, for example the degree of participation in local community organizations. In addition, doubts are cast on the supposition that long local residence is always positively regarded, in the light of the finding that in-migrants may associate it with parochialism. These ideas are linked to recent developments in the sociology of community that emphasize the importance of distinguishing between the different dimensions of community relationships (including the time dimension). On this basis it is argued that in-migrants should not be equated with outsiders, since their position within community relations will be influenced by several other factors, notably social class and employment status, household type, position in kinship networks, age and gender. The insider/outsider distinction is therefore more complex than is allowed in approaches that reduce it to a single dimension related to length of residence.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1080/136688000200032443
ISSNs: 1366-8803 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: insiders, outsiders, community, migration, kinship
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Social Sciences > Sociology and Social Policy
ePrint ID: 34551
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
Date Deposited: 18 May 2006
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:01

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