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.

What Have We Learned about Families and Communities?

What have we learned about families and communities?

Our examination and analysis of families and communes is drawing to a close, but before we end our conversation about them we need to take stock of the key points discussed in the previous chapters. This summarization should assist us in assessing our understanding of family life within intentional communities.

We have learned that communes vary greatly from one another, as indicated by Zablocki's (1980, p. 205) typology and by applications of Kanter's (1972) theory of commitment. There is no typical communal setting and family life within communes is diverse. Some communes are better suited for marriage and family life than others. Zablocki (1980) found high rates of marital dissolution in ...

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