In Keywords, Raymond Williams summarizes his definition of the word “community” as:

Williams’s juxtaposition is made evident in that the “unfavorable” terms he identifies have been consistently used to advance political, social, and economic policies that undermine communities. In 1987, for instance, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher famously claimed that “there is no such thing as society”—a comment that is usually removed from its context:

Thatcher’s rejection of “society” is predicated on the reification of individualism, on the “individual men and women” who “look after [themselves]” and thus depends on a related disavowal of collective responsibility, of the notion of community.

The idea of “community” was similarly disparaged in 2008 when vice-presidential candidate and then mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, Sarah Palin, compared her political experience with Barack Obama’s in her speech to the Republican National Convention: “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except...

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