Staying in the game. From 'intentional' to 'eco': Transforming community in the Italian ecovillage Damanhur
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Damanhur is part of the global ecovillage movement although it started many years before as an 'intentional' community in the 1970s. Damanhur is an intentional community that has developed with a heavy focus on the notion of games and also of spirituality. Using Huizinga's theory of play and Turner's theories of liminality and communitas this thesis aims to understand how 'play' functions in creating and maintaining 'liminality' and 'communities' in the alternative world that inhabitants are attempting to create. In doing this, this thesis aims to uncover what this world looks like to those living and visiting Damanhur and how it is perceived to be different from the society 'outside' of Damanhur. In doing so this thesis outlines the regimented social structure and participation system that has been formed in Damanhur, looks at how 'community' is being utilised in the context of Piedmont Italy, where Damanhur is situated. It also reveals the rules of inclusion and exclusion that exist within this Italian ecovillage have been shown, which reveals this community to be more 'exclusive' than inclusive'.