Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Tracy Ehlers, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Richard Clemmer Smith

Third Advisor

Lawrence Conyers

Fourth Advisor

Ginni Ishimatsu


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.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Linda Prueitt Hansen


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

314 p.


Cultural anthropology, Religion