Chapter 3: Anthropology, the meaning of community, and prevention

C. Timothy McKeown, Robert A. Rubinstein, James G. Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Successful health promotion and disease prevention efforts must be designed with a thorough knowledge of the community in which they are to be used. Unfortunately, our understanding of the term “community” is currently in a muddle. In this paper we clarify the nature of communities by examining how the concept has been treated in four classic community studies. Three important points emerge: (1) that community is a multifaceted concept, (2) that communities are best viewed as assortments of social processes, and (3) that each community has within it many different communities. We then illustrate these findings with a commentary on Kelly's often cited longitudinal community psychology study of adolescent boys attending two high schools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-64
Number of pages30
JournalPrevention in Human Services
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 9 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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