Te Kohurau : continuity and change in a New Zealand rural district. (1987)
AuthorsHall, Robert Russellshow all
While the study of community has occupied sociologists for some time, the process of community formation and change has not been extensively explored. This dissertation addresses that deficiency by examining the process within a New Zealand rural district. The role of closure and communion are analysed using a framework developed from Weberian theory to highlight the dynamic interplay of contradiction and reinforcement existing between three sets of locality relationships: propinquity (community), property (class) and kinship (family). A key argument is that the process of community formation within a locality cannot be adequately understood without considering all three relations together, since they serve collectively to provide the parameters for closure and hence community formation. These theoretical issues are used to explore the historical development of the Kurow district from the time of European settlement (circa 1850) to the present day (1982). The development of the district was divided into periods (1850-90; 1890-1920; 1920-1950; and 1950-1982), and techniques of historical research were employed to reconstruct aspects of the district's social structure. Community formation and change are examined from the years of settlement, through the consolidation of family farming, to changes in the twentieth century. Today, despite the increasing importance of more centralised forms of economic and political control outside the district, community continues to exist on the basis of high levels of continuity, a clear sense of boundary and strong associational structure.