The Small Community: Foundation of Democratic Life

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9781412847469: The Small Community: Foundation of Democratic Life

In this age of large cities, mass culture, and ever more massive events, people must struggle against an overwhelming crowd of their own creations to maintain human integrity. In this manual for human survival, Arthur E. Morgan offers a solution: peaceful existence in the small, primary community where, more easily than anywhere else, people can find a way to live well. Ultimately striving to show that the small community is "the lifeblood of civilization," this volume examines the political organization, membership, economics, health, and ethics characteristics of small communities.

Like Rousseau before him, Morgan observes that we have less control over our affairs than in the past. In increasing our control of the natural environment, human beings have built a social environment so out of scale that it becomes nearly impossible for people to maintain balance. The struggle now is less with the natural order than with the social order, and preserving human integrity against the plethora of our own creations is the core problem.

The need to rediscover elementary forms of human existence has been accelerated by the efficiencies of centralized control and mass persuasion. In the face of this, small communities or intimate groups become the primary pattern in which human beings must live if the good life is to be a realistic goal. The timely nature of this volume has grown as the electronic displaces the mechanical as a moral rival to human community.

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About the Author:

Arthur E. Morgan (1878–1975) was a civil engineer, United States administrator, and educator. He was the design engineer for the Miami Conservancy District flood control system and oversaw its construction. He served as president of Antioch College between 1920 and 1936. He was also the first chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority from 1933 until 1938, where he used the concepts proven in his earlier work with the Miami Conservancy District. His final years of a long life were served in developing a network of community organizations, on which The Small Community is largely based.



Baker Brownell (1887-1965) was a soldier, newspaper man, popular teacher and lecturer, prolific writer and minor power, and scholar concerned with the dynamics of both the “small community” and the larger “human community” of which it formed an important component. He received his bachelors in philosophy from Northwestern and his masters in philosophy from Harvard. Author of The New Universe and editor of a twelve volume series entitled Man and His World, he spent most of his career at Northwestern University. 


Review:

“Morgan’s book is an argument in favor of the small community and its rehabilitation as a basic unit in modern society... The first half of the book consists of Morgan’s philosophy of the importance of the small community. The second half deals with community organization and community interests. There are “how to do” chapters on community design, a study of the community, community councils, a community leadership... The book is popularly written and deserves a wide reading, particularly among rural sociologists.”

—Robert A. Polson, American Sociological Review

“[A] commendable piece of work in terms of social philosophy and in its inclusion of pertinent literature.”

—Lee M. Brooks, Social Forces

“The practical suggestions made by the author concerning ways and means of organizing the small community, the technique of informal community studies, and methods of improving community services should be very useful to civic clubs and community leaders.”

—Jesse F. Steiner, American Journal of Sociology

“In this book, Arthur Morgan argues that smaller communities are necessary for people to have control and thereby democracy in their lives. He organizes his arguments into four sections. The first makes the case for the significance of smallness and presents the problem of bigness as one of alienating structures. The second section examines community organization and advances certain structures. The third section addresses specific issues, like governance, economics, recreation, and the church. The final section presents concluding observations on pioneering new communities.”

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Book Description Taylor Francis Inc, United Kingdom, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. In this age of large cities, mass culture, and ever more massive events, people must struggle against an overwhelming crowd of their own creations to maintain human integrity. In this manual for human survival, Arthur E. Morgan offers a solution: peaceful existence in the small, primary community where, more easily than anywhere else, people can find a way to live well. Ultimately striving to show that the small community is the lifeblood of civilization, this volume examines the political organization, membership, economics, health, and ethics characteristics of small communities. Like Rousseau before him, Morgan observes that we have less control over our affairs than in the past. In increasing our control of the natural environment, human beings have built a social environment so out of scale that it becomes nearly impossible for people to maintain balance. The struggle now is less with the natural order than with the social order, and preserving human integrity against the plethora of our own creations is the core problem. The need to rediscover elementary forms of human existence has been accelerated by the efficiencies of centralized control and mass persuasion. In the face of this, small communities or intimate groups become the primary pattern in which human beings must live if the good life is to be a realistic goal. The timely nature of this volume has grown as the electronic displaces the mechanical as a moral rival to human community. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9781412847469

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