Word Blog


There’s no such thing as community.

There is such a thing as society. But there’s no such thing as community. It’s been used so much it’s lost all relevance and meaning. Anyone can be a community now. Walk over Westminster Bridge from the south bank of the Thames and you meet a sign – ‘Welcome to the Westminster community’. It’s not referring to those who sit in the Houses of Parliament. It means, I think, the borough of Westminster. But it doesn’t really mean anything at all. Because people use community when they can’t be bothered to work out what they really want to say. I’ve even heard people talk about the ‘world community’, presumably including absolutely everybody, everywhere. Of course you can have a community of interests, naming people’s shared ideas and concerns. But that’s different from someone putting a flyer through my front door saying they’re building a nursery  ‘for the benefit of the community’. Who do they mean? A geographical area? If so, where does it begin and end? Or a group of new parents? Does that include me? Let’s stop using this lazy language because it sounds as if we care. Community isn’t a caring word. It’s a sloppy one.


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