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Twin Oaks Intentional Community Ethnographic Analysis Analytical Essay

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Updated: Aug 12th, 2019

The last research study dealt with ethnographic observation of Twin Oaks Intentional Community. It was through field work that the community was noted as one of the intentional communities. According to Christian, “an intentional community is a group of people who have chosen to live with or near enough to each other to carry out their shared lifestyle…” (xvi).

The second paper will analyze this community according to what was observed in field work. The study involved not only performing some interviews with its members but also getting information through interactions during meal times. There are several lessons one can learn by observing and analyzing this community and its culture.

As stated in the former paper, the community under observation cherishes values like peace, sharing, cooperation and equality. They like to work together in order to promote peace and equality among themselves. These are some of the aspects of culture observed in that community.

The event in which this analysis was done met the required expectations. It was similar to the prospect because some lessons were to be learnt by studying this community. One of the main lessons learnt was their effort to bring gender equality in the community. Twin Oaks had provided a good example of an unrelenting effort to defeat gender related inequality challenges in a community (Smith 240).

They had put consistent effort to stop inviting new members from the dominating gender that had created imbalance. In fact, they clearly set a rule in place that would ensure gender balance at all times. That was the reason why they do not invite new members of the dominating group.

It is also important to note that this community aimed at helping one another by embracing non violent activities. Every member had to participate in decision making although final decisions belong to a ‘Board of Community Planners’ (Smith 243).

As an observer, any community needs to improve education programs in order to build a strong practice of collective child rearing. Twin Oaks has another cultural aspect and practice in child care. The way they practice childcare is indeed a great lesson worth emulating. Child care is not for women only but it is a communal and voluntarily task extended to any member in the community.

The community practices collective child rearing responsibility (Levinson 679). In this case it is clear that children would have ample time with adults even if they are not related. However, children face some challenges in education due to lack of sufficient educational programs and facilities. The entire process of raising children is under the control of the wholecommunity. According to its policies, there should be planning and direction on these matters.

One of the main objective facts that distinguish itself from observation and interpretation is Twin Oaks’ ability to continuity. This is an important lesson one can learn by studying this community. Through this study, it is clear that Twin Oaks had the ability to maintain itself for years (Fosket & Mamo 170).

The community had experienced successful maintenance because it had endured changes for some length of time. This flexibility had helped them to transcend through emerging changes in the community. In the process of writing notes during field work, several factors were put into consideration. These factors were considered to be integral in sustaining a community and included contact, collaboration and connectedness. Twin Oaks needs to embrace these values.

The continued anthropological research on Twin Oaks is helpful since there are myriad of lessons to be learnt. Intentional community living is a solution to survive in a disintegrated social order.

The lesson that can be learned in the case study is how to create a unified life together especially for the purpose of pulling efforts as a common unit during difficulties. This is a deliberate attempt to start a group of people to work together in order to accomplish a common goal.

It is also imperative to note that there are well defined policies and internal control measures in an intentional community. As a matter of fact, such controls are necessary as part and parcel of maintaining law and order as well as peaceful co-existence. Twin Oaks was able to come up with some stringent policies that helped its community to live and work together. The community was quite harmonious largely due to the set rules that acted as guidelines.

Finally, there were several questions that came up while carrying out this exercise. For instance, what would be the need of creating life together or living as a common unit? Definitely, there are myriad of reasons behind this. For instance, if people live as a unit, harmony and social interaction will be cultivated. The other inquiry would be whether this form of community living can be embraced globally and at the same time achieve the same desired results.

It is vital to note that intentional community life has its own merits and demerits which may vary from one geographical location to another. Factors such as cultural differences as well as individual values and belief systems do matter a lot when it comes to setting common rules and regulations in such communities. Interestingly though, Twin Oaks was able to create a cohesive living environment among its people.

Works Cited

Christian, Diana. Creating a Life Together: Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities. Gabriola Island: New Society Publishers, 2003.

Fosket, Jennifer & Mamo, Laura. Living Green: Communities that Sustain. Gabriola Island: New Society Publishers, 2009.

Levinson, David. Encyclopedia of Community: From the Village to the Virtual World. Massachusetts: Berkshire Publishing Group LLC, 2003.

Smith, Vicki. Worker Participation: Current Research and Future Trends. San Diego: Elsevier Ltd, 2006.

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