Title

The Oneida Community: An Examination of Place Attachment in a Utopian Society

Document Type

Book Section

Publication Date

3-19-2020

Publication Title

Place, Meaning and Attachment: Authenticity, Heritage and Preservation

Publisher

Routledge

Edition

1

First page number:

71

Last page number:

79

Abstract

The aim of this inquiry is to examine place attachment in the Oneida Community of Perfectionists, a religious communitarian settlement established by the theologian John Humphrey Noyes in 1848 in upstate New York. Basing his theology on the Book of Acts, Noyes believed that Christians were called to live communally, including what he called Complex Marriage, in which all adult men and women of the Community considered themselves married to each other. During its 33 years of communal life, the community grew to over 300 residents and thrived on businesses like steel trap manufacturing, silverware, and embroidery thread sales. It built two communal homes, an early wood building called the Old Mansion House, and a later brick New Mansion House. The demolition of the Old Mansion was the occasion for publication of a lengthy series of columns in the community’s newspaper, entitled “Old Mansion House Memories.” These and other primary sources reveal the depth of attachment to the places of Oneida on its residents. Oneida was a complex society with interpersonal relationships interwoven with the physical environment and with the company they forged. The eventual demise was related to a loss of place attachment in the final building campaign.

Keywords

Place attachment; Oneida Community of Perfectionists; History and beliefs; Physical environment

Disciplines

Place and Environment | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology

Language

English


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