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On Tuesday 14 July, I'm chairing an event at the RSA asking if people need community anymore. The event is built on the assertion that modern Britain is characterised by significant advances in personal capacity and greater heterogeneity in society. With this backdrop, public services are increasingly being delivered as personalised entitlements, and people are perhaps increasingly finding connections in networks rather than neighbourhoods. The debate will ask what, therefore, is the role of community in today's society? And does it have to be 'physical' community to count?

To help us navigate our way these through questions, we've got two great speakers. Amitai Etzioni, University Professor at The George Washington University, former President of the American Sociological Association, and founder of the Communitarian Network will kick us off.  Following on from his vision for public services given at the RSA in March, the Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, will then give a response.

Before you rush to sign up, I should say that the event is fully booked. Sorry for the tease. You can join the waiting list, or else listen to the debate live from 1800 on the night.

To make up for our limited physical capacity and my leading introduction, I offer you this as some small compensation: I will put the best comment/question from comments to this blog to our speakers on Tuesday. So: what is the role of community in today's society? Does it have to be 'physical' community to count? Over to you...


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