Michael Gilsenan: What can be learnt from ‘Intentional Communities”?

Newman University logoMichael Gilsenan posterAn exploration of the interaction between intentional communities and the wider society including the lessons that have/can/will be learnt from the many intentional communities around the globe.  Acknowledging the literature regarding the contribution of eco villages particularly the progress of the Findhorn Foundation, which is well documented, as is the impact that Lammas is having on Welsh legislation the researcher believes there is merit in the exploration of additional aspects of intentional community living and the lessons that have/can be learnt.  Such aspects may include:

Education/Schooling
Models of and philosophical influences of education provision in intentional communities.  Beliefs in the purpose of education and pedagogical approaches.  How different or similar are these to the education provision in the countries they are located?

Work with young people
Young people’s views on living in intentional communities as well as the views of young people who live outside of the communities but interact with those within.  Specific young peoples provision V.S whole community provision.  Models of participation/inclusion of young people in the running of the intentional community.

Grass roots community activity
What can people from inner city or suburban communities learn about community activity and engagement from various intentional communities?  Perhaps a participatory action research project aimed at exploring the nature/methods and ideology behind community engagement?

Local decision-making
How can the various models of decision-making (e.g. consensus, prayer, representative democracy etc.) influence the development of local ward/parish/town council decision making processes.  What can be learnt in terms of increasing participation of local people in these processes?

Towards collectivity 
In a time of increasing global communication and yet still quite individualistic societies (certainly UK and perhaps the minority world) how can/have intentional communities influence a more collective way of living for those in non-intentional communities?