The Dominance of One and Its Perils: Charismatic Leadership and Branch Structures in Utopian Communes

  title={The Dominance of One and Its Perils: Charismatic Leadership and Branch Structures in Utopian Communes},
  author={C. Brumann},
  journal={Journal of Anthropological Research},
  pages={425 - 451}
  • C. Brumann
  • Published 1 December 2000
  • Sociology
  • Journal of Anthropological Research
While utopian communes--groups that voluntarily live together and share all their property--are notoriously unstable, some of them achieve long durations. Based on a broad comparison of cases, I show that charismatic leaders in communes inhibit survival if they are too dominant, as when they are attributed quasi-divine properties and absolute power over members. By contrast, a branch structure--a number of semi-independent settlements instead of a single one--is often associated with long-term… 
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