Dissertation Abstracts

The social construction of norms: the ecovillages' proposal. A case study

Author: Spada, Cristina , cristinaspadaster@gmail.com
Department: Sociology of Law
University: Milan, Italy
Supervisor: Guido Maggioni
Year of completion: 2010
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: complexity , intentional communities , sustainability , social empowerment
Areas of Research: Environment and Society , Armed Forces and Conflict Resolution , Body in the Social Sciences


In the history of humanity many and different have been the attempts to create social structures which would qualify as alternatives to the dominant cultural paradigms which have emerged in different contexts and geographical areas. On the other hand, grassroots and alternative development strategies have largely been overlooked by anthropologists and mainstream research in general.

Nowadays, in a context of increasingly negative news about social and environmental conditions, the experience of those intentional communities that call themselves ecovillages stands as living practice of sustainability, as multiple efforts towards low ecological footprints together with high degree of social capital.

Using the Norm Science approach (Lund University) and a complexity perspective, this work aim at presenting three cases of ecological and cultural sustainability of a case-study. The considered dimensions are the relationship towards the land, the way to get collective decisions, and the approach to childbirth.

In the last chapter, the proposal of legal recognition originating from the grassroots of those intentional communities aiming towards sustainability is examined.