The village community has passed through the following stages.
(i) Primitive Village Community:
There are two peculiar features of the primitive village community; first, the part played by kinship and, second, its collectivist basis. The ancient village community was a very small group of ten or twenty families.
Owing to smallness of size everybody knew each other. The feeling of familiarity was so great that if a child wandered off from the home, the parents had nothing to worry because there were numerous relatives in that village who would keep an eye on him.
Since due to lack of means of communication and transport the members of the village community were separated from other communities by a great distance, considerable inbreeding occurred, so that a large part of the members were related by kinship.
In primitive village community land was the common property. All the members jointly tilled it. Always it was a group trust. The village was organized on a collectivist basis, so far as land was concerned. The bond of kinship and close ties of the inhabitants with the land developed a high sense of community feeling in the primitive village community.
(ii) Medieval Village Community:
The primitive village community underwent a fundamental change by the time of the middle Ages. Neither kinship any longer played a prominent part in binding the people nor did the land belong to the group as a whole.
Instead, feudal system came into existence. The land now belonged to a lord of some sort, to the king, to a member of the nobility or to an ecclesiastical chief. It was tilled by tenants who were the vassals of their feudal lords. Their relation with the feudal lords was that of slave and master.
There were, 1 however, certain factors which bound the rural folk. One of these was their common subjection, 1 their serfdom; the other was their occupational unity.
(iii) Modern Village Community:
With rise of industrialism in modern times the rural group began to lose its importance. Now urban group began to dominate civilization.
However, in spite of growth of urbanism it is a fact that event at the present time a large proportion of population lives in villages. In India, about 75 per cent of the population lives in villages.
The modern village community stands in sharp contrast to the primitive one. Urbanization, the dominant feature of the modern age has made its impact on the village community. The modern city has set the pattern of the rural way of life. Rural social forms have been changing. The rural people have taken over the urban forms of life.
The kinship bond, a peculiar feature of the primitive village community, has been broken due to the increased size and mobility of population. The land is no longer owned collectively or cultivated jointly. Even the methods of working the land have taken on urban characteristics.
Thus, the two factors that made an individual to identify himself with his village community have ceased to exist. What the residents have in common today is a set of traditions, habits and activities which do not produce such a complete identification with the village community as was produced in primitive times.
They continue to work the land but then try to live in the mode of the city. In short, the rural social forms have changed under the impact of urbanization. By and large the rural way of life has been withering away.