Concerning this region, Huntington departs from Kitsikis contending that a civilizational fault line exists between the two dominant yet differing religions ( Eastern Orthodoxy and Sunni Islam ), hence a dynamic of external conflict. However, Kitsikis establishes an integrated civilization comprising these two peoples along with those belonging to the less dominant religions of Shia Islam , Alevism , and Judaism . They have a set of mutual cultural, social, economic and political views and norms which radically differ from those in the West and the Far East.
Here I want to suggest that a sense of belonging and the concrete experience of social networks (and the relationships of trust etc. that are involved) can bring significant benefits. However, as we have seen, the sense of attachment and quality of social networks varies greatly between the different ‘communities’ that people name. It could be argued that we should be focusing on enhancing the quality of social networks etc. rather than the creation or strengthening of ‘community’. (This is the line taken by writers such as Stacey 1969). As a way of appreciating the possibilities here I want to look at the idea of social capital – and Putnam’s (2000) impressive exploration and compilation of evidence concerning its health and benefits. From there I want to return to the idea that in meeting with others there is the possibility of communion – and that this is, for many, a highly desirable goal.