Crafting Collectivity

Crafting Collectivity: American Rainbow Gatherings and Alternative Forms of Community

This book, based on ethnographic research, was published by Paradigm Publishers in September, 2014. Paradigm Publishers was later purchased by Taylor and Francis, and Routledge reprinted the book in 2016. It is also available on Amazon.

From the 2013 National Rainbow Gathering in Montana. Photo by Mandy Smith. Used with permission.
From the 2013 National Rainbow Gathering in Montana. Photo by Mandy Smith. Used with permission.

 

“Every summer, thousands of people assemble to live together and celebrate the Annual Gathering of the Rainbow Family. Participants establish temporary systems of sanitation, health care, and water distribution and filtration; meals are provided freely to all who gather; and attendees develop sharing and trading systems, recreational opportunities, and educational experiences distinct to this creative social world. The Rainbow Family has invented itself as a unique modern culture without formal organization, providing the necessities of life freely to all who attend. The Annual Gathering of the Rainbow Family has been operating for more than forty years as an experiment in liberty that demonstrates how material organization, participation, and cultural connection can reshape social relationships and transform individual lives. Grounded in sociological theory and research, the book considers what kind of culture the material systems of “Babylon”—a term used by the Rainbow Family to refer to the world outside the Gathering—reinforce and how society could facilitate the kind of social world and human welfare people desire.”