The Elusive Disappearance of Community

From Laslett ‘Phillipe Ariès and “La Famille”‘ p.83 (quoted in Eisenstein, p.131):

The actual reality, the tangible quality of community life in earlier towns or villages … is puzzling … and only too susceptible to sentimentalisation. People seem to want to believe that there was a time when every one belonged to an active, supportive local society, providing a palpable framework for everyday life. But we find that the phenomenon itself and its passing — if that is what, in fact happened– perpetually elude our grasp.

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