Lately, I've been engrossing myself in Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger's work on communities of practice - the informal, horizontal, peer-to-peer structures where learning often occurs by doing and where the doing is oftentimes connected to an applied commitment to citizenship. All sorts of fascinating spaces can be defined as communities of practice. Hackerspaces, anarcho-collectives, housing coops, alcoholics anonymous, zine distro networks... All of these incredible spaces are communities of practice. According to Wenger:
Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.
Here's a fairly succint video of Wenger talking about communities of practice in relation to identity production and engaging in the process of education.