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Talk:Community centre


I have suggested that these two pages be merged. The development of the term social center emerged in Italy in the context of theorisation of the Social Factory, but in reality the best English is community centre.Harrypotter 17:48, 28 March 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Here in the UK, and in some other countries I believe, community centres are generally government-run establishments that keeps within the boundaries of the particular political makeup of that country. Social centres on the other hand are independently run as an alternative to the mainstream political ways of doing things. They sometimes provide the same kind of services as community centres but they are philosophically, and in a lot of cases structurally, very different. Many social centres are also used as places to organise politically against the policies of the mainstream political parties in a given country. As such I feel the distinction needs to be made to properly reflect the nature of social centres. Perhaps a note needs to be added the social centre entry to reflect this.Prenna 22:43, 30 March 2006

Don't know where you are in the UK, but the community centres near me are run by the community for the community and are charities, nothing to do with the council— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:45, 11 April 2011 (UTC)[reply]

I totally agree with Prenna that there need to be a distinction, and agree with his / her distinction. brooklyn_agit 23:21, 30 March 2006 (UTC)[reply]

OK, I clarified the relationships. Please see social center. brooklyn_agit 00:06, 31 March 2006 (UTC)[reply]
I think you have allowed your ignorance to cloud the issue and removal of the discussion so quickly is hardly helpful. I think these and other distinctions could usefully be made on a single page rather two pages and indeed looking at how various community centres have become legalised since say the seventies when many community centres were squatted. Also many "social centres" in Italy have reached accomodation with landlords.Harrypotter 13:00, 4 April 2006 (UTC)[reply]
I have returned the merge proposal. Check out community centres (centers) and associations: their history, theory, development and practice which uses social center and community centre interchangably and quotes:
The new social centers were to be different... because they were not limited to recreational activities, and, most important, because 'socialized schools', their organizers argued, could act as magnets attracting citizens whose segregation into class and ethnic groups had obscured their common bonds, loyalties, and responsibilities. Like social settlements before them, social centers would lend harmony and foster cooperation among the working-class and immigrant elements and at the same time ease some of the difficulty of slum life. (Fisher 1994: 16)Harrypotter 16:12, 5 April 2006 (UTC)[reply]
Maybe instead we need to clarify this term and its definition in terms of an Italian stub. And I still argue that the concept of the "social center" is distinct, especially within an Italian context. In the 1970s Italian anti-capitalist activists coined many terms that they thought diverged from standard conventions: social strike, social labor, precarious labor, etc. Social Center was one of them.brooklyn_agit 15:10, 6 April 2006 (UTC)[reply]
Aso, read the link at the bottom of social center: Social Centers, Community Spaces, and Squats From "Italy's Cultural Underground" by Adam Bregman brooklyn_agit 15:13, 6 April 2006 (UTC)[reply]
I am not quite sure what you are getting at here. Prhaps we need to look atthe New York experience and link it to the International Modern School, and other experiences. I am quite well aware of the different views expressed within and without the area of autonomia, and their relationship to similar developments certainly different parts of the British Isles. Within in the whole area of community centres there are a series of distinctions which a useful article would explain, and perhaps you might like to help develop that. Also please check List of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community centers to see some of the work which has gone into that. Obviously, the list is currently very much geared to the anglosphere and if you know of any LGBT social/community centres in Italy or elsewhere, it would be very useful if you could develop that list - or do you want a separate list for LGBT "social centres"? Surely not!Harrypotter 16:19, 6 April 2006 (UTC)[reply]
OK, this is what Im saying: Social Center is a distinct term that connotes a distinct thing, as Community Centre is a distinct term that connotes a distinct thing as well. That is why they need seperate entries, not amalgamation.brooklyn_agit 15:28, 7 April 2006 (UTC)[reply]
I appreciate that is what you are saying, however I do not agree with your standpoint. Aside from the metaphysical viewpoint contained therein i.e. realism, I feel that even on empirical grounds your viewpoint is hard to sustain. Whilst I have read the web page you refer to, it clearly comes from a very partisan source. As you can read from the little bit of work that I have started, there is quite a lot of material to assess, and as i have mentioned before, I think the relation between the iniatives in America with the International Modern School needs to be explored. One of the things I am keenly aware of is how the word synagogue could be translated from the Greek as social centre, community centre as much as by "place of assembly". Certainly in the British Isles the synagogues were the first places to offer free education to children, and I would see the development of the IMSs in London, New York and elsewhere as giving a balance to other initiatives already touched on in the article. Clearly what Mary Parker Follett was proposing and its relationm to democracy bares some parallels to more recent experience in Italy, where a whole range of experiences can be shown varying from the Tute Bianche (who I understand have links with the Communist Refoundation Party (Italy), and some of the anarchists, many of whom seem to have a vanguardist mentality.
Perhaps you could explain more about what has lead you to form your view?Harrypotter 17:33, 8 April 2006 (UTC)[reply]
The discussion over the Italian usage of the term social centre is neglecting the fact that the term social centre is also used in many other countries around the world to distinguish from community centres. For example "The Social Centre Network" ( in the UK is a vibrant movement connecting autonomous spaces. It is called The Social Centre network because it is about social centres, which are autonomous spaces whether rented or not, not community centres, which are normally state or church run spaces. Prenna 21:51, 16th April
I am familiar with that and it is clear that such places like LARC are not very different from community centres. LARC itself is privately owned, as is the Autonomy Club, 56A is rented from the Council having once been a squat. Use Your loaf, Institute for Autonomy and the Radical dairy are all defunct. As for Community Centres being run by the state, how true is this? Whilst it is true that faith groups run many community centres, this is also true of many of the so-called social centres you refer to, even if anarchists do not like to be called a faith group. It may be useful to mention the different varity of community centres, but to set aside a separate page for these so-caled "autonomous" centres would, I feel, be to concede too much to the vanguardist anarchist politics in a resource which sets out to have a Neutral Point of View. (I would also point out that the vogue for calling community centres social centres was a fashion introduced - along with White Overalls (Tute Bianche) and eurocentric Euromayday from the situation in Italy, and it is hard to see what substance this verbal make over has if any!)Harrypotter 12:26, 18 April 2006 (UTC)[reply]
Community Centres are run by the state in that they are generally local council funded and controlled. The vast majority of community centres in the UK are run this way. Making the definition has nothing to do with vanaguardist politics but merely accuracy, which I assumed most people on wiki are aiming to achieve. If you still can't understand the difference between how Social Centre's are run and how Community Centres are run you obviously have very little experience with either.Prenna 14:13, 11 May 2006

Social centres should remain separate from community centres[edit]

I would also agree that social centres should retain their own entry. Anyone with even a passing knowledge of Italian centri sociali (social centres) would know they have a very different history from community centres. The main point of differentiation is political. Italian social centres emerged primarily out of the autonomist-workerist political tradition. THis more radical line sought, by definition, autonomy from state formations. Social centres were a way of reclaiming community space for autonomous social and political practice.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:14, 8 June 2006 (UTC)[reply]


Why does this article use the British spelling? isn't US English the wikipedia standard for articles relevant to many english-speaking countries?

Dialectric (talk) 21:06, 7 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Nope.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:06, 19 April 2009 (UTC)[reply]

Please move the revolutionary/squatter stuff out of this page[edit]

It is clear from the discussions above that the concept of a (semi-) illegal joint community use of an (abandoned) building has been collected in another article Social Centre. It is also clear that an attempt to merge that page with this one for community centre was aborted.

So would you please move all the talk about squatting an associated political theories out of this page, so the traditional non-revolutionary and rarely illegal community centre movements can get its page back. I will be bold and do some initial non-destructive editing in which I simply move the out of place stuff closer to the end of the page. (talk) 10:04, 16 June 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Supplemental text that really belongs on the Social Center page[edit]

The following text was on this page prior to June 2013, but really belong on the Social Center page. It has been preserved down here temporarily until someone working on the Social Center page can move it.

Some community centres are squatted, sometimes rented buildings, mostly in Europe, which have been made into organizing centres for community activities, support networks, and institutional initiatives such as free kitchens, free shops, public computer labs, graffiti murals, free housing for activists and travelers, recreation, public meetings, legal collectives, and spaces for dances, performances and art exhibitions. Those in a more established setting may be directly connected with a library, swimming pool, gymnasium, or other public facility.

Community centers have various relationships toward the state and governmental institutions. Within the history of a given institution they may move from a quasi-legal or even illegal existence, to a more regularized situation.

In Italy, from the 1970s, large factories and even abandoned military barracks have been "appropriated" for use as community centres, known as Centri Sociali, often translated as social centres. There are today dozens of these across Italy. The historic relationship between the Italian social centres and the Autonomia movement (specifically Lotta Continua) has been described briefly in Storming Heaven, Class Composition and Struggle in Italian Autonomous Marxism, by Steve Wright.

Social centres in Italy continue to be centres of political and social dissent. Notably the Tute Bianche and Ya Basta Association developed directly out of the social centre movement, and many social forums take place in social centres.

In the United Kingdom there is an active Social Centre Network, which aims to link up "up the growing number of autonomous spaces to share resources, ideas and information". This network draws a very clear distinction between the many autonomous social centres around the country and the state or large NGO sponsored community centres.

NB: This text was moved from here from the article by Ruby Murray 10:58, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

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Day centre[edit]

'Day centre' redirects to here, but in Britain a day centre is something altogether different. (talk) 15:59, 29 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]

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Talk:Community centre
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