Thursday, September 8, 2011

Factors That Delineate Boundaries Within Communities

There are many factors that can delineate a boundary in a community. One major factor is the historical aspect of the boundary. A boundary that has existed for a prolonged period of time typically is a stronger boundary. This is opposed to one that has been around for a shorter time, which is often weaker. A long-standing boundary has seen many years of tension, and represents more than just short-term issues creating a boundary. It also usually has to do with race and/or ethnicity. For example, in Winter Park, a boundary existed between the white and African American populations. This boundary was a railroad track that African Americans couldn’t cross over after dark in the nineteenth century. It significantly divided the entire community of Winter Park. Although it doesn’t have as much of a presence nowadays, it’s defined by its history. The elder members of the town can still feel the tension that has existed for so long. It takes many generations to forget such large boundaries. Boundaries that have been around for a short period of time can seem so important at the same time of the issue creating the boundary. Tensions are high and the issue can be emotional for those separated. Over time, however, the tension lessens. The longer the boundary exists, though, the more weight it carries. A boundary that goes away within a community after a little amount of time can be easily forgotten. A strong, or tension-filled boundary then needs to be around for a long period of time.

Another related factor that can delineate a boundary is the physicality. Is it an actual line or wall that separates two sides? Or is it a symbolic boundary? A symbolic boundary can really only be seen by the people directly affected by it. A wall or a gate can be seen by those unaffected, and even spark questioning of what it separates. These two can be viewed as very different boundaries. Either way, they represent the significance of the boundary. Some can argue that an actual, physical barrier is stronger, while others argue that an invisible and understood barrier is stronger.

Despite the type of boundary, boundaries can sometimes be erased when in time of an emergency. For example, if there is a weather crisis that strikes, the community can come together and become stronger. Often it takes a time of need to break down these barriers. It helps people realize that no ethnic or human difference is more important than saving lives.

In conclusion, boundaries can be delineated by two main factors: the historical perspective of the boundary, and the physicality or symbolization of the boundary. Both represent trends in society and can explain reasons for behavior and economic traits of a community. In both cases, the longer the existence of the boundary, the stronger the significance of the boundary.

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