Community of interest

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Weak definitions of community of interest exist in politics, law, telecommunications, etc:

  • “a group of people that can be identified by common social, political, economic, or ethnic similarities.” (VoteJustice, 17:14, 6 July 2006 (MEST)).
  • Many items can be considered as "Community of Interest." Such as a city, closely located cities, a neighborhood, a business with multiple locations, government agencies that serve a wide area (not just one entity, ie, county sheriff department), or other agencies/businesses with multiple locations. Basically, it involves Common Interests and Common Needs. (AT&T Consumer Information Glossary, 17:14, 6 July 2006 (MEST))

Somewhat stronger definitions include some form of interaction.

  • “A community is a group of people who form relationships over time by interacting regularly around shared experiences, which are of interest to all of them for varying individual reasons.” (What is community?, 17:14, 6 July 2006 (MEST))

Typically, a promotion (class) in a typical Swiss university can be considered a community of interest. So can the University's or school's faculty members.

But many authers make a distinction between community of interest and stronger forms like communities of practice.

  • “Members of a community are informally bound by what they do together-from engaging in lunchtime discussions to solving difficult problems-and by what they have learned through their mutual engagement in these activities. A community of practice is thus different from a community of interest or a geographical community, neither of which implies a shared practice.” (Wenger, 1998)

See also: community of practice, community of learning, task-based community.


Wenger, Etienne (1998). Communities of Practice: Learning as a Social System. Systems Thinker, June 1998.

See also fr:Communauté d’intérêt