City life and community
Complementary or incompatible ideals?
in The culture of toleration in diverse societies

The city is pictured as an arena where diverse social groups or networks may co-exist in an atmosphere of mutual toleration, while the community is seen as a cohesive unit where conformity is fostered at the expense of diversity, thereby breeding intolerance. This chapter aims to assess whether the picture of city life and community, and their relative merits, can be sustained. In Iris Young's view, city life provides a much more attractive social and political ideal than community, for it can allow difference to be truly respected. Young argues that the privileging of face-to-face relations inherent in the ideal of community serves to devalue non-communal encounters and divert our attention away from their importance. In Young's view, city life potentially incorporates the ideal of 'openness to unassimilated otherness'.


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