Futures Forum: "Whatever Happened to Community?"
here is the second part which suggests 'our anxiety about lost community is nothing new.'
Episode 2 of 3
Giles Fraser has left a glittering job as Canon Chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral and is now working as the priest of a run-down parish in Elephant and Castle. This has set him thinking about the nature of community, which he investigates in this very personal series.
In our digital, global age, we look back with misty eyes to a 'golden age' of community in the 1950s. But our anxiety about lost community is nothing new.
In 1836, Augustus Pugin published Contrasts, a book of architectural drawings comparing the buildings of the medieval community with those of the industrial revolution. In response to what he saw as the urban decay and social rootlessness created by the industrial revolution, Pugin set about re-inventing the architecture of medieval community, initiating the Gothic revival. This wasn't simply about highly decorated churches with pointy arches, it was a wholesale programme of social and moral reform - a return to some imagined 'golden age' where people lived at ease with each other in stable and religiously engaged communities with shared values.
Giles travels to North Staffordshire, often known as 'Pugin-land' because of the high concentration of Pugin's buildings, to explore how many in the 19th century wanted to return to medieval forms of community. He argues that this is not dissimilar to the nostalgia many people feel today in response to globalisation and social churn.
And in the struggling former pottery town of Stoke on Trent he talks to MP Tristram Hunt about contemporary anxiety over community, and challenges a former BNP councillor nostalgic for a past with few immigrants and full employment.
BBC Radio 4 - Whatever Happened to Community?, Nostalgia
Is the experiment in community in Marinaleda, Andalusia an exercise in nostalgia?
Communist 'utopia' in a Spanish village. Laurie Taylor talks to the writer, Dan Hancox, about his research into a tiny community in Andalucia which set out to create an egalitarian enclave after the demise of General Franco. Does the reality match the dream? They're joined by the social geographer, Helen Jarvis.
BBC Radio 4 - Thinking Allowed, Tooth Loss; Communist Utopia in a Spanish Village
The Village Against the World, by Dan Hancox - book review: why there is such a thing as society in southern Spain - Reviews - Books - The Independent