In part one, section three of David Fleming’s City of Rhetoric, Fleming discusses the neighborhood community as a political tool. Fleming begins this section on the neighborhood by defining said space as, “A smaller democracy, where ordinary individuals can engage in person, in public judgement and decision making, where politics can be the everyday literal enactment of every citizen’s freedom and equality”(43). In this, Fleming adds a non-spacial piece to the definition of a neighborhood, defining it as a place where, on a small scale, the purest form of the democratic process is carried out. Fleming notes that the most civically active neighborhoods and communities are those that fall on the smaller side, population wise. Along with this purity and followed sense of political duty, Fleming states, is the common criticism of the politics done in these neighborhoods. This criticism being that smaller communities that practice their democratic rights through local politics tend to be very homogeneous in their political views.
Fleming introduces an interesting side effect of this homogeneity: the loss of true individual freedom in the democratic process. Fleming notes another side effect of political homogeneity, the lack of “ conflict needed for genuine political engagement” (48). To me, this lack of conflict negates some positive aspects of such an involved democracy, limiting the neighborhoods potential for diversity or progression.