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Article

Сообщество как данность и сообщество как процесс: стратегии изучения малых городов

Community studies in social science tend to treat community as a given object with structural characteristics to be revealed. This approach is particularly adopted by researchers of local communities, including small towns. However, it is questionable whether all spatially localized social aggregates can be rightfully called communities. This paper argues that even though his approach has a long tradition in social science, it cannot deal adequately with the key issue of integration and disintegration of communities. We rely on classical sociological theory to suggest a strategy of analysis that pays attention to the dynamics of social cohesion and considers community from the standpoint of unification processes. Building on empirical data gathered during the studies of Russian small towns, we indicate several mechanisms of consolidation and supporting the communities.