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Book of the Day: The Globalization of Communes

photo of Franco Iacomella

Franco Iacomella
4th December 2012

Book: Globalization of Communes, Yaacov Oved. Transaction Publishers, 2012.


“How have communes adjusted to a global world?

After World War II, membership in communes and cooperative communities became internationally oriented and such communities began networking. Unlike earlier communal organizations, these groups shared openness to international relationships. This became evident both in the groups’ social composition, and in the extension of networks beyond their own countries.

Such globalization opened up the possibility of comparative analysis, which has become a trend in research on communal organizations since the 1950s. The dynamism and speed with which communities have spread throughout the world is impressive. In the 1950s there were only a few hundred such societies, but by the end of the last century there were thousands.

In Globalization of Communes, Yaacov Oved shows that communal societies maintain a community based on cooperation and expand their influence through newspapers, television, and the Internet. The chief characteristics they share are openness to the outside world, and the search for a way to move beyond a world of individualism and competitiveness. To accomplish this, they embrace all the tools of the modern world.”[1]


“In a new book, historian Yaacov Oved, himself a member of a kibbutz, suggests that the communal idea is flourishing as never before. He points out that the past five decades have shown a steady increase in the creation of cooperative communities in dozens of countries. These frameworks offer an alternative lifestyle to the competitive society in which most of us live. . . [H]e concedes that his research has not provided all the answers, just as his life as a kibbutz member did not, but both his scholarship and his personal experience of communal living have filled his life with meaning and strengthened his belief in the value of partnership and the principle of mutual responsibility.”

–Daniel Gavron, author of The Kibbutz: Awakening from Utopia [2]


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