Treating classroom learning as a community process of transforming participation in social practices has provided a useful corrective to predominantly abstract, mentalistic conceptualizations of learning. For example, Lave's community of practice and Rogoff's community of learners emphasize the ways in which learning is deeply situated in a person's becoming part of a community through participation in socially organized activities or practices. Although highly suggestive, both practically and conceptually, a review of the community metaphor and its development in theories such as Lave's and Rogoff's is necessary. In current use the metaphor pays insufficient attention to the complex and often messy relations between individuals and between individuals and communities, which contribute to shaping the very social practices in which learning is situated in these models. Further development of community models of classroom learning requires a clearer conceptualization of these relations, if individual and community are not to be reified and rendered useless in a relational account of learning. We develop this argument with reference to an analysis of control relations in a primary school classroom. Our reading of extracts from interactions in this classroom highlights shifting relations of responsibility and control in the classroom and the negotiated nature of participation in particular practices. Copyright © 2001, Regents of the University of California on behalf of the Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition.