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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Hammond, Joyce D., 1950-

Second Advisor

Loucky, James

Third Advisor

Saunders, Kathleen (Anthropologist)


Youth of the 1960s took a collective stand against the establishment, challenging hegemonic forces intent on turning an informed citizenry into mere consumers; hypocrisy from the highest levels of government (Harrington 1962) was challenged by students, college enrollment was unprecedented (Roszak 1968). Unable to cause change at the top, scores of young people dropped out of mainstream culture in search of a better way to live (Miller 1991). Back-to-the-landers are the surviving members of the counterculture movement (Jacob 1997). Different from Sixties' political radicals or utopian commune hippies, the back-to-the-land movement is evidence of counterculture success and provides an ideological model for community building. A hamlet in northern California is a model in community building because it exhibits the essential qualities of a resilient community: social cohesion, participatory decision-making, and shared commitment to environmental integrity (Theobald 1991). Immigrant generated conflict prevailed there during the early 1970s, based on fear. Serendipitously, residents created relationships and discovered common ground (Lamphere 1992). Smith and Krannich confirm, given an opportunity, newcomers and old-timers will discover they have more in common than previously believed (2009). Community members acknowledged their shared values, what Sumner terms the civil commons (2005); they established a unique kind of communitas of people and place (Turner 1969), sustained by frequent experiences of collective effervescence (Durkheim 1912) at events supporting both common and individual interests. Born in 1960, my life began with the counterculture. A consequence of "free love," my hippie parents divorced in 1969; my mother, with four daughters, joined the back-to-the-land movement. Personal experience transforms this ethnography into autoethnography (Ellis and Bochner 2000). During a year of participant observation fieldwork (Spradley 1980), I returned to the town where I came of age as a hippie kid to discover how the people established peace.





Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Ethnology--California--Comptche; Urban-rural migration--California--Comptche; Country life--California--Comptche; Social history--1960-1970; Social history--1970-; Common good; Subculture

Geographic Coverage

Comptche (Calif.)




masters theses




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