Cover image for The Palgrave companion to North American utopias
The Palgrave companion to North American utopias
Friesen, John W.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.
Physical Description:
274 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HX652.A3 F75 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



The Palgrave Companion to North American Utopias is a fascinating virtual catalogue of utopian societies and communes from past to present. The authors assert that the formation of a utopian society is both possible and feasible and give examples of how to create one of our own.

Author Notes

Virginia Lyons Friesen is an Early Childhood Education Consultant and a Sessional Instructor in the Faculty of Communication and Culture at the University of Calgary.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

John Friesen (education & communication, Univ. of Calgary) and Virginia Lyons Friesen (communication, Univ. of Calgary) here examine the development of communal systems in Canada and the United States from the colonial period to the present. They offer a fascinating look at a wide selection of utopian communities, from the Shakers and Mormons to the Amish and Raelians. Not many communities are left out of this book, and many that died out long ago and are known only to a few specialists are explored and made available for today's readers. The communities examined are grouped by purpose: noncommunal utopias, religious communes, economic-oriented communes, the Harmonists, unorthodox communes, 20th-century communes, and the Hutterites. Each section discusses the different groups and offers the occasional photograph. In the final chapter, the authors hold that forming a utopian society is feasible and, in fact, one way of dealing with the increasing dissatisfaction with modern mainstream society; they even provide examples of how to create a feasible modern utopia. This well-written and accessible book is a wonderful resource for anyone interested in utopian communities and would be useful for academic and public libraries.-Mark Bay, Cumberland Coll. Lib., Williamsburg, KY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Inspired by the dawn of the new millennium, the authors ( communication and culture, Univ. of Calgary) appropriately contend that contemporary society is ripe for a new interpretation of utopian living. After defining utopian communities, the authors explore their different nuances--communal or communitarian, intentional or spontaneous, religious or economic, urban or rural, historical or contemporary, etc. Some of the groups discussed, such as the Hutterites, Shakers, and Harmonists, have had whole books devoted to individual communities from the disciplines of sociology, anthropology, history, folklife, or religion, variously describing social structure, theology, or expressive culture. This volume synthetically brings together these studies under an interdisciplinary tent, and suggests related groups deserving of study and comparative interpretations when the concept of "utopia" is applied. As a compact summary, the book is especially effective in viewing the continuities among groups that are often considered separately. As a conceptual proposal, it deserves credit for provoking thinking in clear language about the very idea of community in the US. With students in mind, the authors undoubtedly leaned toward succinct treatments, with the hope that they will inspire future tomes. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. General and undergraduate collections. S. J. Bronner Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg Campus

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
1. The Concept of Utopiap. 13
2. The Need for Utopiap. 25
3. Noncommunal Utopiasp. 53
4. Religious Communesp. 85
5. Economic-Oriented Communesp. 129
6. The Harmonists: An Economic-Religious Modelp. 149
7. Unorthodox Communesp. 169
8. Twentieth-Century Communesp. 187
9. Hutterite Communalismp. 223
10. Toward a Model of Utopiap. 239
Referencesp. 253
Glossaryp. 263
Indexp. 269
About the Authorsp. 275