Where Have All the Utopias Gone? Ritual, Solidarity, and Longevity in a Multifaith Commune in New Mexico
Date of Award
Tracy Ehlers, Ph.D.
Richard Clemmer Smith
Commitment mechanisms, Commmune, Intentional communities, Sacralization of space, Solidarity, Utopia
Utopian experiments creating new forms of community have dotted the globe throughout human history. Despite grandiose visions, a majority of communal experiments have faded quickly into oblivion. A wealth of scholarship has focused on reasons why communes typically fail. My research of an ecumenical commune in northern New Mexico examines what has facilitated its perpetuation for over 42 years. I participated in this community for different periods of time for over three years. With the assistance of a resident oral historian, I was able to expand my study into a diachronic view that spanned decades. I conclude that there are multiple and interconnected factors that have given strength to this community. Factors contributing to its persistence throughout its existence have been a strong economic base, strong social structures, overarching ideologies, adaptability, charismatic influence, ritual observances, sacralization of space and material culture, amicable relations with the outside, conflict management mechanisms, and boundary maintenance. In the past two decades other factors have been added or intensified to contribute to its solidarity including a transient population and a widening circle of outside support.
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Hansen, Linda Prueitt, "Where Have All the Utopias Gone? Ritual, Solidarity, and Longevity in a Multifaith Commune in New Mexico" (2010). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 266.
Received from ProQuest
Linda Prueitt Hansen
Cultural anthropology, Religion