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Building Utopias: Successes and Failures

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image of International Journal of Comparative Sociology
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Four long-lasting and prosperous utopian enterprises are compared to the American communes of the 1960's in an effort to detect what facors accounted for their success. In general, the successful utopian experiments shared certain traits that were absent in the American communes. They selectively recruited their members, submitted them to an initial socialization process, imbued an ideology of sacrifice and brotherhood, worked within a democratic framework, legitimated a system of authority, possessed capital, invested in human capital, encouraged worker ownership, recognized their interdependence, used flexible economic policies, asked their members to renounce the outside world, and created a sense of communion and transcendence.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology, The City College of The City University of New York, New York, N.Y. 10031, U.S.A.


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