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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 & Family, 4, (1), pp. 29-48. (doi:10.1080/136688000200032443).

Record type: Article


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.

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Published date: 2001
Keywords: insiders, outsiders, community, migration, kinship


Local EPrints ID: 34551
ISSN: 1469-3615
PURE UUID: a7946b75-d688-4678-ac7e-e188c6d19a26

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Date deposited: 18 May 2006
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 15:50

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Author: Graham P. Crow
Author: Graham A. Allan
Author: Marcia Summers

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