The nineteenth-century German sociologist, Ferdinand Toennies, who is regarded as the
founder of the community theory defines community in his book Gemeinschaft und
Gesellschaft (Community and Society) ‘as an organic, ‘natural’ kind of social collectivity
whose members are bound together by a sense of belonging, created out of everyday contacts
covering the whole range of human activities. Toennies differentiates this type of collectivity
with another, called an association, which is consciously organized for specific purposes and
whose members are bound together by common regulations or interests.
The target group with whom the community organizer is going to work with
has to be identified and understood. The needs and problems of the community
in different settings will not be the same, and moreover, the characteristics
of the people in different settings are likely to vary. Accordingly, the methods
and techniques of community organization and the roles of community organizers
will have to be used in such a way as to suit the differing settings and
characteristics of people..
Whatever may be the settings there is a community or a group of people
with needs and problems. In other words there is a general discontentment
that has to be focused and channelized in such a way that the people come
together, think together, plan together, implement and evaluate their actions.
In all the stages the community has to be fully involved and their capacity
increases as a result of access and control over resources and decision making.
Therefore in community organizations, the community organizer has to play
different roles in making the people to be on their own, without any dependency
syndrome. The types of settings may be have limited. But it can be said that wherever
there are people living together or where like-minded people or the affected
individuals come together, they form a community demands their due share
In different settings depending on the needs and problems and the social
situation of the community, the roles and strategies have to be changed. Moreover,
all the roles need not be applied in all the settings. In order to adopt different
roles, the community organizer has to be very clear about the process or the
steps involved in the practice of community organizations' methods and skills, and accordingly, the roles can be selected and applied.
The rural area is differentiated from the urban, based on the population size,
density of population and occupation of the people. If any area the population
is more than 5000, the density is more than 300 per square kilometer and
more than 75 percent of the people are engaged in agricultural activities,
such areas are called a rural area. Along with these characteristics if the geographical
location, in general, is in the hills occupied by tribals it is called the tribal area.
In the case of an urban area the population is more than 5000, density is more
than 300 per square kilometer and more than 75 percent are involved in
Among the people inter-personal relationship and receptiveness is high and
positive in rural and tribal areas, whereas in an urban area the primary relationship
within the community is rather low. Organizing rural and tribal people is less
difficult compared to urban people.
In the institutional and non-institutional settings the people are organized and
not organized respectively. In an institution due to the organizational structure
there is the possibility to bring the people together for any common purpose,
whereas in the case of non-institutional there is not structured pattern and
hence it may be difficult to bring them together.
The three models of community organization expect different sets of roles.
In the locality development model the people come together to discuss and decide
about the improvement of an area, or locality, emphasizing the broader participation
at the local level in goal determination and action.
In the social planning model the people come together and gather pertinent
facts about the problems, then decide on a rational and feasible course of
It is a technical process of solving social problems. Arranging and
delivering goods and services to people who need them. External help is
more. Interested group members participate. Broader participation is less. The social action model brings the people to destroy the oppressors. Basic changes
in social situations are brought about by organking the affected segment of
the population so that they make demands on the larger community for increased
resources or better treatment in accordance with social justice and democracy
and redistribution of power, resources and decision-making.
The community organiser has to see, observe and understand all the settings
and the models before responding or making the people to respond to the