Interest in 'community' has increased in recent years for a variety of reasons, including civil renewal, active citizenship and the increasing diversity of British society. This is highlighted by the increasing governmental emphasis on 'community', leading up to the current ideas of the 'Big Society'. Understanding community is a topical text providing a clear understanding of policy and theory in relation to community. By examining areas of government policy, such as economic development, education, health, housing, and community safety, this book explores the difficulties that communities face in dealing with state power as well as discussing the new concepts of community cohesion, social capital and community capacity building. The author challenges our understanding of community and assesses the strengths and limitations of this understanding. This book is essential for students studying social policy, social work and sociology, and an invaluable resource for policymakers in community development, urban regeneration and allied fields.