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May 16, 2012, 08:23:26 AM
Since the mid-twentieth century some social psychologists have demarcated communities as static entities; conceptual and physical boundaries were placed around communities to facilitate scholarly analysis. This theoretical and methodological bias is contrasted against the consideration of the dynamic flow of communities and, by association, identity formation. The application of social interactionism provides one method through which to remedy the partiality of preferred approaches to community as practised in contemporary social psychology. Opening up analysis to the consideration of processes of communing exposes the interconnection of identity and community, symbiosis that develops through social interactions across places via the creative use of music and material objects. Evidence collected through auto-ethnographic engagement with New Zealand Heavy Metal fans clarifies the complex associations that shape and maintain individual identity and community associations. Social ties are negotiated and maintained across online and offline spaces, through personal interactions and shared experiences, via object recognition, and threshold maintenance. Social psychological research needs to return to early works of psychology and symbolic interactionism to account more fully for the complex and emplaced nature of identity and community.