Communities, Yhteisöjä, Communitas, SheQu, or Ayllupura?
The basic meaning of the word community, according to the Cambridge Dictionary, is “the people living in one particular area or people who are considered as a unit because of their common interests, social group, or nationality.” Sociology studies the relationship between human beings and how those are built, the existing groups that we call societies, and further on, communities. All these studies involve historical, social, and economic factors in order to have a deep understanding of it.
During their studies in Proakatemia, students are taught to value teamwork and community. Much of this seems lost when people do not even know the real definition of these keywords. In addition, the study of other communities is extremely important to develop even more those in which the individuals are inserted. When studying different communities, new perspectives can be seen, which leads to increased sensitivity in terms of a greater understanding of the other and their actions.
Therefore, one must begin with the differentiation between society and community. The following table (Table 1), taken from the Sociology Guide – A Students Guide to Sociology website (www.sociologyguide.com), points out the main differences between the two:
|Population is one of the most essential characteristics of a community irrespective of the consideration of whether people have or do not have conscious relations.||Population is important but here the population is conditioned by a feeling of oneness. Thus, conscious relations are more important than the mere population for a society.|
|A community by nature is discrete as compared with society.||By nature, and character society is abstract.|
|For community areas or locality is essential and that perhaps is the reason that the community has a definite shape.||Society is area less and shapeless and for a society area is no consideration.|
|A community has a comparatively narrow scope of community sentiments and as such it cannot have wide heterogeneity.||A society has heterogeneity and because of its wide scope and field can embrace people having different conflicts.|
|The scope of community is narrower than that of society because community came much later than the society. Though the primitive people might not have understood the importance of community, they realized that of society and lived in it.||Society has a much wider scope as compared with the community.|
|In a community every effort is made to avoid differences or conflicts and to bring likeness as nearly as possible because cooperation and conflicts cannot exist in a community.||In a society likeness and conflict can exist side by side andin fact the scope of society is so vast that there is every possibility of adjustment.|
(Table 1 – Sociology Guide – A Students Guide to Sociology website (www.sociologyguide.com)
Therefore, it can be concluded that society is a broader concept that encompasses the importance of communities. It is not by chance that both the animal kingdom and the human kingdom are organized within these two concepts that can be sociological, and biological, among other perspectives. From the organization of communities in an organic way, society in general also becomes stronger. Below, we will introduce a few communities in different countries and regions, hoping to find valuable points that we can think about and hopefully absorb some knowledge around the topic.
Between 22.03.2022 and 25.03.2022, Flip Solutions had its first Learning Journey. On this occasion, teampreneurs had the opportunity to get to know a different kind of community, its characteristics and organization in Keuruu Ecovillage. Keuruu Ecovillage is near the small town Keuruu, with around 20 – 50 inhabitants and 53 hectares of land. It has a beautiful landscape and people can get the typical experience of Finnish countryside. Very honored, we had a dialogue with one of the Keuruu Ecovillage founders, Esme’s grandmother Liisa.
The original intention of establishing an eco-village was to become a model of low-impact, sustainable and satisfying human settlements. They are targeting to reduce their carbon footprint by promoting a new lifestyle. At the same time, they also hope that ecovillage can be used as a bridge for cultural retransmission, allowing people to experience a purer Finnish culture in this community. It is also a part of GEN- Europe which is a network of ecovillages in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Their mission is:
“Promote the development of sustainable settlements
Work to strengthen the capacity of individual ecovillages as well as the national ecovillage networks.
Communicate the benefits of the professionals in government, the private sector, and other NGOs.”
The concept is very great, but in fact, due to multiple reasons, the relatively big flow of people, the benign economic cycle model is still being explored, plus the impact of the epidemic from 2020 to the present, there are currently only about 20 inhabitants living in the village. Plenty of places are waiting for renovation and the village lacks vitality, making it more difficult to attract new members or new projects. How to bring it back to life is a question worth exploring. Here are some suggestions from us. It may be very idealistic, but it is a general direction in which we think it can keep sustainable development.
– Seeking funding or investment.
– Looking for government or academic projects which focus on developing a sustainable lifestyle and reducing carbon footprints.
– Be as an experimental area exploring the combination of sustainable development and high technology.
– Construct a circular economic model to attract talents and drive the surrounding economy.
COMMUNITIES IN LATIN AMERICA – GENERAL INFO.
Indigenous peoples are distinct social and cultural groups that share collective ancestral ties to the land and natural resources where they live, occupy, or from which they have been displaced. The land they live on and the natural resources they depend on are inextricably linked to their identity, culture, and livelihoods, as well as their physical and spiritual well-being. They often seek to be represented by their traditional leaders and organizations, which are distinct or separate from those of the dominant society or culture. Many indigenous peoples continue to maintain a language that is different from the official language(s) of the country or region in which they reside.
In the world, there are approximately 476 million indigenous people in more than 90 countries. Although they make up more than 6% of the world’s population, they represent around 15% of people living in extreme poverty. Indigenous communities can be considered as those that preserve the heritage and origin of a country, and that at the same time are the object of discrimination, social contempt, marginalization, and oblivion. That is, “being indigenous is a sign of the first denial and of the denial of all human and civil rights.
With the conquest of a large part of the indigenous peoples of Latin America by the Spanish, the union of the colonizing culture with that of the indigenous communities resulted in a community with diverse characteristics, many of them contradictory, due to the violent fusion of two different identities in its origin. This union has repercussions in the present and drags various aspects anchored in the past. The Spanish civilization has a rich memory legacy while the indigenous one is heir to the achievements of the pre-Hispanic civilizations, for which the presence of the traditional is combined with the modern, combining at the same time, elements of both cultures in an attempt to live together, asserting the inheritance received.
An indigenous community is a group that concentrates certain cultural legacy, occupies a place in every country; they identify with the rest of the population because they speak a language other than the official language; that also has different uses and customs; and whose political, social, cultural and economic organization differs from other social sectors because it is based on its customs. Indigenous communities have their own identity in which they must defend the nation or country they live since they feel threatened in their identity because their existence in the society is based on trying to develop outside of it.
But every country is in turn made up of two essential elements: the people who make it up and the geographical space with which they establish a sense of belonging, which can be communal when the land is the main source of subsistence. Likewise, together with these elements, it is necessary to consider the indigenous traditions, history, local culture, customs, life habits, food, as well as oral and monumental expressions, everything that provides a sense of identity. The rights of nature are built on an indigenous thought and belief that embraces life and recognizes, in this sense, the omnipresent interdependence that binds all natural entities together, of which humans are part. We are complementary expressions of the same living, collective and cyclical being, Pachamama (Kichua language).
Many peoples throughout the world are at the opposite end of the anthropocentric spectrum and have a more holistic view of life and profound respect for ecological balance. The vision of a world in harmony where man is in fact a component of the biosphere within which all living organisms evolve. In the image of the cosmovision’s of the Andean indigenous peoples, nature is no longer an environment external to the human, it is the human, and the man is nature. A biocentric approach that dethrones Man from his pedestal and roots him in his origin.
The rights of nature are built on an indigenous thought and belief that embraces life and recognizes, in this sense, the omnipresent interdependence that binds all natural entities together, of which humans are part. We are complementary expressions of the same living, collective and cyclical being, Pachamama.
THE ANDEAN COSMOVISION.
Many peoples throughout the world are at the opposite end of the anthropocentric spectrum and have a more holistic view of life and profound respect for ecological balance. The vision of a world in harmony where man is in fact a component of the biosphere within which all living organisms evolve. In the image of the cosmovision’s of the Andean indigenous peoples, nature is no longer an environment external to the human, it is the human, and the man is nature. A biocentric approach that dethrones Man from his pedestal and roots him in his origin. Thus, the Andean cosmovision is based on thousands of years of culture, beliefs, conquests, and civilizations; it is an Andean mixture extending from Colombia to Chile, passing through Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina.
Pachamama holds a variety of meanings, it is a complex notion. It is not the result of scientific elaborations, but the manifestation of the knowledge of the ancestral culture, the fruit of a coexistence of the people with the Living. Divinity with Andean roots represents the whole of the human and non-human entities. From humans to animals; from plants to rivers, oceans to the rocks and the stars. Living well in the Andean communities is the well-being of the Ayllu (family) where the practice of Randi-Randi (give and take) is the cornerstone, is rituality expressed in solidarity for the common good, the Minka.
MINKA IS THE EXAMPLE WE NEED TO TAKE INTO PRACTICE.
The term Minka can be translated as “collective work for purposes of social utility and reciprocal nature.” This tradition back to the pre-Columbian civilization consists of unpaid work for a community or family whose direct utility does not benefit those who perform it or at least it is not a particular benefit. It is so identifying with the Kichwa culture that even children participate in its realization.
This practice, in fact, based on collective action for the common good, has allowed the survival and development of the communities themselves, promoting a strong spirit of solidarity and reciprocity. A concept and a way of doing things that should resonate as very current, but unfortunately being willing to help is a Western expression because it is based on individualism, which means that I am not obliged to help anyone if I don’t feel it. But In the Andean cosmovision Randi-Randi is a style of life.
The Minka goes beyond being just a combination of letters that form a word. It is a practice that in the end becomes a lifestyle, and awakens in people a physical and spiritual good, in addition to generating empathy with each of its participants and a rootedness in the territories where it is carried out, through everything. the sharing that participating in a Minka implies, given that other related activities are carried out in them, which allow the spiritual exchange of knowledge and the awakening of many of the senses and feelings of the human being. However, this lifestyle has been a victim of man because of the violence and consumer lifestyle that drives the modern world.
In the Minka community, there is always a leader who calls on all members to collaborate with a view to a service that benefits the entire community. Generally, they are half-days of work from the early hours of the morning that ends with a shared lunch, where each family contributes with products of their own chakra (from Kichwa, piece of land). The custom of sharing food at the end of collective work is done to highlight the community work done and to thank Pacha Mama for the food offered. In addition, it is a key moment to exchange stories and information about the life of the community.
COMMUNITIES IN GREATER CHINA – GENERAL INFO
The Chinese term “community” is translated from English by Chinese sociologists in the 1930s. Because it has regional meaning in Chinese translation, which is intended to emphasize that the life of the social group is based on a certain geographical area. In the late 20th century, both Taiwan and mainland China began to attach importance to “community building” or “community building” respectively.
Most of the communities in the China mainland today were renamed by the residents’ committees in towns, or villages. Communities there have no administrative level but are the lowest level where the government transmits, implements policies, and understands people’s sentiments. The leaders of the community are elected by general elections every three years. There are generally 8 to 20 community workers. A large community may have administrated over 5,000 households, while a small community has less than 1,500 households.
In rural communities, agriculture is people’s main economic activity. With the development of society, many rural communities have also carried out industrial production and commercial activities, becoming a new type of “urbanized” rural community. Compared with rural communities, urban communities concentrate more on economic activities which are dominated by industry, commerce, and services. The population density tends to be much greater than in rural communities.
The important function of the community is to provide services for the members, such as
- living – home appliance fixing, laundry service, etc.
- cultural and sports – cultural performances, sports activities, travel, etc.
- health care – basic health check, vaccination, hygiene in public areas, etc.
- security – security system, legal consultation, legal registration, etc.
There the community pays more attention to serving the members so that people can have a sense of belonging under the protection of the community and find joy and a way of life.
Taumi Eco-village is located in Nantou Taiwan, with an area of 18 square kilometers and a population of about 1,200 people. Before Taumi eco-village was founded, Taumi village used to be a local landfill, and the area was polluted seriously. After the 9.21 earthquake in Taiwan in 1999, Taumi village was severely damaged. It exposed the decline of traditional rural industries, population outflow, landfills, and other backward conditions of Taumi village.
Later, local residents received support and sponsors from the government, academia, and social organizations cooperate across fields to carry out the idea of constructing an ecological living community – the transformed Taumi eco-village. From a marginal community with a cluttered environment and weak development, it has transformed into a model of rural ecological construction that integrates organic agriculture, ecological conservation, and cultural creativity.
Taumi has forests, streams, wetlands and ecological ponds, providing habitat, foraging and reproduction of various wild animals, and is an important habitat for biodiversity conservation. Therefore, ecological learning and environmental education have become a major source of the Taumi economy. Taumi has developed Taumi ecological tours, community visits, wetland maintenance learning, agricultural cultural experience, Taumi organic food experiences, and other external projects. This not only revitalized the Taumi economy but also gave community residents a sense of belonging and pride, finding a balance between ecological maintenance and sustainable development.
From the community cases mentioned above, we can find that the community needs to include people, objectively interconnected (region, culture, beliefs, ideas, goals, etc.), and at the same time maybe it can help members to solve certain problems.
Summing-up, studying communities and participating in one such as Proakatemia is a very rich experience and that helps the understanding of the meaning of all this. The importance of community is related to the feeling of security, sharing of common notions such as the sense of values and objectives. In a political sense, communities organize themselves with the aim of achieving rights and visibility, to claim their space as a whole, just like FLIP Solutions in its journey in Proakatemia, for example. The sense of exchange and interdependence within communities is extremely important for the feeling of belonging to it and to a much larger whole.
Written by Omar Puebla, Luiza de Oliveira Vago and Xiaoqing Yang-Pyydysmäki.
Definition of community from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary, Cambridge University Press, Available on https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/community, Accessed on 3.4.2022.
Keuruu Ecovillage official Website: https://www.keuruunekokyla.fi/en/ .Accessed on 3.4.2022
Community in Baidu Encyclopedia： https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E7%A4%BE%E5%8C%BA/904140. Accessed on 3.4.2022
Taumi Ecovillage Official Website: https://taomi-ecovillage.ego.tw/. Accessed on 3.4.2022
Comparison between Society and Community, Sociology Guide – A Students Guide to Sociology website, Available on https://www.sociologyguide.com/basic-concepts/society-and-community.php, Accessed on 3.4.2022.
Indigenous Peoples, Exclusion and Precarious Work: Design of Strategies to Address Poverty in Indigenous and Peasant Populations in Ecuador through the SWOT-AHP Methodology, Available on https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/18/2/570/htm Accessed on 3.4.2022
Cosmovision And Identity In Marriage —Sawari— Of The Kichwa People Otavalo, Ecuador), Available on https://www.europeanproceedings.com/article/10.15405/epsbs.2020.05.27
The Development Dictionary @25: Post-Development and its consequences, Available on https://books.google.fi/books?id=8RIFEAAAQBAJ&pg=PT81&lpg=PT81&dq=minka+and+randi+randi&source=bl&ots=EbCm8QiRc0&sig=ACfU3U1WSlAukvzp6TGMfJUtiAvLsC0ZXw&hl=fi&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjN_pjo9fr2AhWv_CoKHTaPDmgQ6AF6BAgREAM#v=onepage&q&f=false