Community decline Depreciated community pride Vague community memory Ignored community deterioration Dispersing social base
Transitions in lifestyle occasioned by current societal shifts often tear apart the unifying fabric in small communities. As a community declines, its role as the focal point of residents' life has diminished vitality. Many residents remain isolated from and cynical about the community, even when the town or village had a rich heritage. There are few formal means to profit from the knowledge and experience of those who founded the community; and residents have a debilitating image of the place, related to loss of business, community decline, and a multitude of problems. Old industries and closed stores witness to lost greatness; unused buildings and land suggest that the area has been passed by. Adults and young people look elsewhere for work since they see no vocational future in the locality.
Significantly diminished population plus the traditional pattern of social stratification, which is now virtually accepted as the fated role of the villager, have resulted in many rural villages having paralyzing and depreciating self-images that undermine their sense of community identity. Although some residents may remember a more active time when there was much commerce and frequent community celebrations, the underlying tone becomes that of failure, with few visible or spoken community traditions. Often the village location is not even indicated on maps.
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