Title

The Phenomenon of Intentional Communities: Why do People Join Them and Why do they Stay? Reflections from those Living in Intentional Communities in the U.S.

Publication Date

1-1-2009

Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Karen Blanchard

Abstract

This paper examines the phenomenon of the Intentional Communities movement in the U.S today. I have been living and working in an Intentional Community for the past two years and wanted to shed light on the social, spiritual and environmentally sustainable lifestyle practices that have been beneficial for positive change on the planet. I sought to answer the question: Why are people joining Intentional Communities in the United States and why do they stay? Subsequently, I answered the following sub-questions: What is an Intentional Community? Some examples?; Where are Intentional Communities located in the United States? Some examples?; How many Intentional Communities are in existence in the United States presently?; What makes Intentional Communities different from other forms of community in the United States?

I focused my research framework and methodology on shared leadership models of consensus and conflict-resolution processes practiced successfully in Intentional Communities today. My findings indicated that those living in Intentional Communities create a self-responsible, safe environment to practice new forms of being that don’t support a top-down dominator model of leadership as practiced in many areas of mainstream society. My research indicates that those living in Intentional Community stay because they value the safe environment to be themselves, to be heard, to be valued consistently, to be nurtured and loved, to practice more conscious and circular forms of communication, to practice conflict-resolution, to fulfill their life’s purpose and engage in sustainable living, creating social and positive change for the betterment of the larger society and the planet.

Disciplines

Social Psychology and Interaction | Work, Economy and Organizations

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