by M. HUGHES
Communes in Britain by Andrew Rigby (Routledge Kegan Paul £3.50) Only months after his penetrating examination of the features of British communes comes Andrew Rigby's Communes in Britain, a more systematic appraisal of five communes which have withstood at least the erosion and disappearance within the first few months of life, which for communes is by far the most common pattern of existence.
With the thoroughness and intensity which characterised his earlier volume, Mr Rigby surveys the motivation for the inception of these communes, all very divergent in nature and the beliefs which underlie their continued existence — for, as he emphasised in "Alternative Realities," only those communities which possess a deep religious or philosophical valuesystem stand any Chance of survival.
There then follows a detailed description of the membership, and the way in which this came about, the mode in which the members of this other reality relate to the more commonly accepted one, and their own internal organisation.
To varying degrees of depth the projects are analysed for viability and long-term prospects. Each chapter is satisfying, because the narrative stimulates the reader into posing_ further questions, which the author obligingly proceeds to answer.
The common element is a' desire for some form of shared existence, but the degree of sharing may vary, as can the
motivation, whether therapeutic, economic, political :or religious, and the extremes of the commune spectrum have widely differing external manifq,stations. On initial examination it is difficult to apply the same generic title to middleclass Postlip Hall at one end, and to mystical Findhorn at the other.
As in his previous work, Andrew Rigby demonstrates at the same time a critical attitude to his subject, and a firm respect for the communards' efforts to create a better life. Now that he has retired from his position as Lecturer in Sociology at Aberdeen University, one wonders where his evident fascination with the subject of communes will take him next!