Graduation Date

Spring 2019

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Social Science, Environment and Community

Committee Chair Name

Anthony Silvaggio

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Gregg Gold

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Nikola Hobbel

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories

Environment and Community


In this research, I explore social practices that members of two intentional communities identified as contributing positively to their experiences and the functioning of their communities. Specifically, I examined the social practices that deal with conflict resolution/prevention, the decision making processes of consensus and sociocracy, and how knowledge about these practices is shared within the ecovillage context. The intention is to present how community members develop and use these social practices to live together more harmoniously and authentically by utilizing activities and techniques to help mediate and resolve conflicts and make decisions collectively.

In order to investigate these questions I traveled and lived at several different sustainability oriented communities ranging from three weeks to five months. I participated in day-to-day life at these communities and interviewed residents of the two communities I stayed at longest. Through my participation in these two communities it appeared the social practices of heart shares, check-ins, community meetings, mediations, and personal growth workshops helped to reduce conflict and foster social cohesion between community members. The insights from this research revealed how knowledge shared about these practices is done so mainly through participation. Results indicate that knowledge sharing about these practices may benefit from increased involvement of both community members and visitors, specifically, through holding events and gatherings.

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