Introduction: Creating a Frame for Understanding Local Organizations

Ram Cnaan, Carl Milofsky, Albert Hunter

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In this book, scholars from a number of disciplines present work focused on communities, with particular attention to community organizations. A few scholars have emphasized the importance of the need to map this intellectual territory (Calhoun, 1992). In some ways community study seems to be well-trodden ground; there has been influential work on social capital, for example (Coleman, 1987,1988; Putnam, 1995; Foley and Edwards, 1997; Edwards and Foley, 1998). Yet the rich diversity of communities and community organizations has rarely been studied from a perspective that is both conceptual and descriptive. The growing sense that un-studied local organizations constitute a massive yet little-understood portion of the nonprofit cosmos has led (1997a),(b) to call them the “dark matter of the nonprofit universe.” An interdisciplinary attempt to make community a unit of study has not been previously undertaken, and thus we feel that this Handbook makes a unique contribution to scholarly understanding of both communities and nonprofit organizations that operate at the community level.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbooks of Sociology and Social Research
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages19
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameHandbooks of Sociology and Social Research
ISSN (Print)1389-6903
ISSN (Electronic)2542-839X

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2008, Springer Science + Business Media, LLC.


  • Community Life
  • Community Organization
  • Dark Matter
  • Nonprofit Sector
  • Social Capital

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Social Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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