(Re)Locating community in relationships: questions for public policy
This paper argues that we should think of community as being about social relationships rather than a ‘thing’ that is ‘lost’ ‘found’ or to be ‘made’. The paper draws on the philosophy of Roberto Esposito and the sociology of David Studdert to highlight the overlaps in their approaches to community. Both argue that community is ontological, as unavoidably ‘with us’. The paper then draws upon two empirical examples to argue that this approach could enable a different kind of public policy in relation to community. Policy would focus on existing relationships as the starting point for any efforts to effect social change. The implications for contemporary debates about localism are explored at the end of the paper.