Browse

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 132 items for :

  • Political Participation and Behaviour x
  • Political Sociology x
  • Social Movements and Social Change x
Clear All

The final chapter shows that, since its creation, Twin Oaks, like most other intentional communities, has sometimes had to cope with high turnover rates. While this is not necessarily a sign of dysfunction, it does raise questions about the long-term dynamics of the collective in general and individual destinies in particular. The chapter thus highlights the existence of a wide range of trajectories within communities, from very long-term residency (until death in the community) to much more temporary stays. It also provides data on the fortunes of communards who chose to return to the outside world, identifies the motivations that led them to make this choice, and concludes that the community experience was not, in the vast majority of cases, a mere frivolous interlude in the course of an individual’s life.

Restricted access

This chapter contextualizes the community revival that began in the US in the late 1960s, focusing on the diversity of intentional communities that emerged. It proposes to reduce the complexity of the community landscape by distinguishing three elementary ideal types of community: societal, anarchist and identity-based. Finally, it studies the case of a community (The Farm) initially characterized by a form of charismatic domination, but which, over time, evolved towards a societal model.

Restricted access

The conclusion begins by describing the transformation of the social space of intentional communities since the 1970s (evolution in the number of communities, invention of new forms such as ecovillages…). It mentions the increasingly important role of the Foundation for Intentional Community. Finally, it suggests distinguishing four mechanisms of social change that intentional communities can spearhead (bubble, contamination, alliance, multiplication).

Restricted access
Living and Working in Concrete Utopian Communities

Since the late 1960s, individuals rebelling against societal norms have embraced intentional communities as a means to challenge capitalism and manifest their ideals. Combining archival work with an ethnographic approach, this book examines how these communities have implemented the utopias they claim to have in their daily lives.

Focusing primarily on intentional communities in the United States who have adopted egalitarian principles of life and work, notably Twin Oaks in Virginia, the author examines the lives and actions of members to further understand these concrete utopias. In doing so, the book demonstrates that intentional communities aren't relics of a bygone era but rather catalysts capable of shaping our future.

Restricted access

This chapter looks at the flip sides of community work. It illustrates, on the advantages side, the intrinsic rewards of community work and the possibilities for freedom in effectuating it are not always enough to mobilize the required labour. Extrinsic non-monetary rewards – the positive flip side of work – complete the range of expected benefits. But there is also a dark side of productive activities, which are not always as pleasant as utopian rhetoric might suggest. On this constraint side, peer pressure and threats are effective ways of limiting insufficient commitment to work, even when the job is not to a person’s liking. At Twin Oaks, communards who fail to meet their quotas fall into the ‘labour hole’.

Restricted access

This chapter traces a genealogical thread. The proposed path begins with the emblematic figure of Henry David Thoreau and his seminal book, Walden. The following stage is charted by the work of psychologist and utopian B.F. Skinner, the author of Walden Two, which sheds light on the conditions that led to the birth of Twin Oaks in 1967. Twin Oaks, the community primarily studied in this book, began as an attempt to apply Skinner’s plan to a ‘natural’ space of the kind Thoreau loved.

Restricted access

This chapter looks at everyday life at Twin Oaks and Acorn through a Goffmanian lens. The focus at this stage is investigating the ways in which a community identity is built, and deciphering the multiple codes and logics that structure ordinary social interactions. This chapter also shows that there are divisions that structure representations and practices. Gender, parental status, and age are major factors.

Restricted access

The introduction defines the main object of the book – intentional communities – and offers a brief historical perspective on their development in the United States. It then situates the study within the field of the sociology of concrete utopias and prefigurative politics. After detailing the methodology (essentially ethnographic) and the fieldwork (in Virginia), it presents the plan of the book.

Restricted access

This chapter challenges the myth of freely organized, dispute-free communities. By focusing on the many rules that shape communal life, it starts by describing how things function at Twin Oaks (distribution of roles, communication, decision-making methods, and so on) and, secondarily, at Acorn. The chapter shows that the form of social regulation applied at Twin Oaks today still owes much to B.F. Skinner and his Walden Two. It also emphasizes that community life does not exclude conflict or deviance. On the contrary, they are immanent to it. The chapter concludes that communities are above all spaces of compromise between members.

Restricted access

This chapter helps to understand who chooses to become a communard. At Twin Oaks, as elsewhere, withdrawing into a community is mainly the preserve of the young, white, and middle class. It then describes the reasons why Twin Oaks, like other communities, regularly recruits new members. The conditions under which the book’s author was recruited as a visitor to the Twin Oaks community are then detailed. The chapter continues with a presentation of another community (Acorn), which was the subject of another visit by the author. In both cases, it highlights the reasons that drive young people to join a community, the forms of attachment to the community, and the compromises that, on a daily basis, communities have to make with their environment.

Restricted access