Community in Time

In “Beyond “Culture”,” Akhil Gupta and James Ferguson focus on three characteristics that they use to define a community: place, people, and time. They believe a community is made up of people living in the same place at a certain time. Those who remain in the same place for a long time adapt with the changes to the community, whereas those who move (“are displaced”) adapt with their new, also changing, communities. When looking at these two groups’ memory of this common place, it follows that those who leave remember the place as what is used to be, while those who have stayed view it as what it is and remember what it used to be. It follows that someone who remains cemented to a physical space must continue to involve themselves with the people around them to remain part of the community in which they live. Because anyone can live in one and only one time, everyone develops “remembered places” that contain memories of their past communities. Therefore, those who stay and remain in the community will feel a displacement with the memories of their past community in the same place.

 

ice-cream-works

This image of Ice Cream Works, a former ice cream parlor in Newton, MA represents one of many places I remember enjoying as a kid where I cannot continue to visit to remind me of memories from my childhood. There are roughly four or five new stores that have inhabited this storefront since Ice Cream Works closed, of which I have been to maybe two. Every time I enter that store, whatever it may be offering that day, I feel disconnected with the place that held the community I once knew.

What is Understanding?

In “The Boy on the Beach,” Charles Homans notes that the current generation in safer countries may have a higher tolerance for suffering in other parts of the world because of developments in news reporting via social media. Compared to the generation before us, in which many either got drafted or from a young age witnessed their friends and family get drafted to defend the United States in one of the wars in the 20th century, we have dealt with losing similar aged people to war at a much less significant level. In addition, before the developments in communication from the last 30 years, the previous generation did not have access to the extent of media from overseas that we have today. When looking at ongoing wars in the 21st century world, this difference in the experiences of these two generations points to the question: does empathy come from knowledge or experience?                                                 remembrance_at_vietnam_memorial_iphone_case-r0590da56c2b44c3ba536de4b202434cd_vx34d_8byvr_324