Cover image for Families and communes : an examination of nontraditional lifestyles
Families and communes : an examination of nontraditional lifestyles
Smith, William L., 1956-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Thousand Oaks, Calif. : Sage Publications, [1999]

Physical Description:
xiii, 161 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HQ971 .S55 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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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.

Author Notes

William L. Smith is Associate Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Georgia Southern University

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Smith assesses the impact of communal living on traditional family life. After an introduction and a chapter on the conceptual dimensions of communal scholarship, two chapters trace the place of families in historical communes in the US. Since almost every scholar who has studied communes has previously assessed their effect on families, little is new in the familiar list, though some value lies in comparing each communal experiment on family and having the material in one place. Chapters five and six consider urban and rural communes of the 1960s through the 1990s. Here also more space is given to communes previously studied, like Twin Oaks, than to the lesser-known contemporary experiments. The book is clearly conceptualized and written, despite a folksy personal style that is unusual in academic scholarship. Overall, Smith presents a good introduction to this important area of communal research and adds to the understanding of the malleability of the family unit. Subject and author indexes. General readers; undergraduates and graduate students. E. J. Green; emeritus, Prince George's Community College

Table of Contents

Conceptual, Definitional, Theoretical and Typological Issues
Families in Historic Communal Utopias
Part 1 Families in Historic Communal Utopias
Part 2 Urban and Rural Communes of the 1960s and 1970s
Urban and Rural Communes of the 1980s and 1990s
What Have We Learned about Families and Communities?