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Title: The commune movement during the 1960s and the 1970s in Britain, Denmark and the United States
Author: Lee, Sangdon
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2016
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The communal revival that began in the mid-1960s developed into a new mode of activism, ‘communal activism’ or the ‘commune movement’, forming its own politics, lifestyle and ideology. Communal activism spread and flourished until the mid-1970s in many parts of the world. To analyse this global phenomenon, this thesis explores the similarities and differences between the commune movements of Denmark, UK and the US. By examining the motivations for the communal revival, links with 1960s radicalism, communes’ praxis and outward-facing activities, and the crisis within the commune movement and responses to it, this thesis places communal activism within the context of wider social movements for social change. Challenging existing interpretations which have understood the communal revival as an alternative living experiment to the nuclear family, or as a smaller part of the counter-culture, this thesis argues that the commune participants created varied and new experiments for a total revolution against the prevailing social order and its dominant values and institutions, including the patriarchal family and capitalism. Communards embraced autonomy and solidarity based on individual communes’ situations and tended to reject charismatic leadership. Functioning as an independent entity, each commune engaged with their local communities designing various political and cultural projects. They interacted with other social movements groups through collective work for the women’s liberation and environmentalist movement. As a genuine grass root social movement communal activism became an essential part of Left politics bridging the 1960s and 1970s.
Supervisor: Petzold, Stephan ; Hall, Simon Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available