The book offers a detailed critical analysis of the ideal of 'community' in politics. The book traces elements of the idea of community in a number of social and philosophical contests over the last century, explaining how these are articulated in very recent political and public policy debates. 'Community' is invoked as a justification for re-organisation of state institutions as the source of care, and support for individuals, and as an entity which is valuable in its own right, and needs itself to be sustained and defended. In community development, community action, community care, and community politics, the tensions and contradictions within the concept are often invariably felt community is both inclusive and exclusive; both organised and unstructured; and both hierarchical and egalitarian. The book argues that analyses of the concept of 'community' shows the role of ideas and ideals in shaping political actions, the barriers to the realization of community in practical contexts, and ultimately the untenability of the ideal itself.