This book focuses specifically on the role of the family in communal life. Communal groups are one type of nontraditional families, some communes are predisposed to families while others are not and some communal families can be replacements or substitutes for nuclear families. Historic communal groups such as Shakers, Oneida, Amana, and the Mormons are investigated as are contemporary rural and urban communal groups such as Twin Oaks, Jesus People USA, and the Hutterites.



Social Order and Personal Autonomy

If one is interested in the social scientific study of families and alternative lifestyles, what possibly could they learn from communes and intentional communities? Let us broaden the argument a bit further. What possibly could one learn about families and alternative lifestyles by looking at the various waves of utopian living the western world has experienced in modern times? What have groups like the Shakers, Oneida, Amana, and contemporary rural and urban communal utopias contributed to our understanding of family and community life?

Alternative lifestyles, such as communal living, provide us with additional models from which we can compare and contrast nuclear family life. Why would someone not want to conform to what everyone else is doing? What is it that ...

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