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A commune is a kind of intentional community where most resources are shared and there is little or no personal property (as opposed to a community that only shares housing).
Since the term 'commune' currently conjures images of the hippie communes of the 1960s and '70s, the term 'intentional community' is more often used where 'commune' would have been forty years ago. There are many contemporary intentional communities all over the world, a list of which can be found at the Online Communities Directory.
Categorization of communes[edit | edit source]
Benjamin Zablocki categorized communes this way:
- Egalitarian communities
- Eastern religious communes
- Christian communes
- Psychological communes (based on mystical or gestalt principles)
- Rehabilitational communes (see Synanon)
- Cooperative communes
- Alternative-family communes
- Countercultural communes ("hippies")
- Political communes
- Spiritual communes
Of course, many communal ventures encompass more than one of these categorizations.
Some communes, like the ashrams of the Vedanta Society or the Theosophical commune Lomaland, formed around spiritual leaders; while some communes formed around political ideologies. For others, the "glue" is simply the desire for a more shared, sociable lifestyle. Moreover, some people find it is just more economical to live communally. Many contemporary squatters pool their resources in this way, forming urban communes in unoccupied buildings.
Communes in United States[edit | edit source]
A few notable examples include:
- The Harmony Society started by Johann Georg Rapp in Harmony, Pennsylvania, in 1804 and dissolving around 1905 in Economy, Pennsylvania, was one of the longest-running financially successful communes in American history.
- Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel The Blithedale Romance is a fictionalized portrayal of the Brook Farm commune, existing from 1841 to 1847, where Hawthorne stayed for a while.
- Fruitlands was a commune founded in 1843 by Amos Bronson Alcott in Harvard, Massachusetts. The tempo of life in this Transcendentalist community is recorded by Alcott's daughter, Louisa May Alcott, in her piece "Transcendental Wild Oats."
- The Oneida Society was a commune that lasted from 1848 to 1881 in Oneida, New York. Although this utopian experiment is better known today for its manufacture of Oneida silverware, it was one of the longest-running communes in American history.
- The commune Modern Times was formed in 1851 in Long Island.
- The anarchist Home Colony was formed in 1895 across the Puget Sound from Tacoma, Washington on Key Peninsula, and lasted until 1919.
- Ganas is a commune currently in existence in the New Brighton neighborhood of Staten Island, New York.
Communes in the world[edit | edit source]
Beyond the United States, there have been other famous communes, such as the kibbutzim in Israel. Also, many cultures naturally practice communal living, and wouldn't designate their way of life as a planned 'commune' per se, though their living situation may have many characteristics of a commune.
Bibliography[edit | edit source]
- Margaret Hollenback, Lost and Found: My Life in a Group Marriage Commune (University of New Mexico Press, 2004), ISBN 0-8263-3463-6.
- Timothy Miller, "Assault on Eden: A Memoir of Communal Life in the Early '70s", Utopian Studies, Vol. 8, 1997.
- Laurence R. Veysey, The Communal Experience: Anarchist and Mystical Communities in Twentieth Century America (1978).
- Benjamin Zablocki, The Joyful Community: An Account of the Bruderhof: A Communal Movement Now in Its Third Generation (University of Chicago Press, 1971, reissued 1980), ISBN 0-226-97749-8. (The 1980 edition of the Whole Earth Catalog called this book "the best and most useful book on communes that's been written".)
- Benjamin Zablocki, Alienation and Charisma: A Study of Contemporary American Communes (The Free Press, 1980), ISBN 0-02-935780-2.
See also[edit | edit source]
- Egalitarian communities
- List of intentional communities
- Intentional communities
References[edit | edit source]
[edit | edit source]
- Federation of Egalitarian Communities
- List of Communes in the Communities Directory
- Intentional Communities Website
- Intentional Communities Wiki
- "Roots of Communal Revival" by Timothy Miller. A paper on communes in North America from World War I to the 1960s.
- kamparealis Online cooperative commune (Russian)
- Communal Studies Bibliography
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