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Title: Sustainability and resilience of alternative lifestyles : an ethnography of self-organizing communities in South China
Authors: Wang, P 
Issue Date: 2020
Source: Sustainability, 2 Feb. 2020, v. 12, no. 4, 1454, p. 1-15
Abstract: As a manifestation of sustainability, self-organizing communities (SOCs) have been proven to be increasingly related to the environmental issues and living space crisis in the urban areas. Many social groups regard self-organizing communities as an ideal alternative to the problems of rapid urbanization since they challenge unsustainable materialism and consumerism. To penetrate this idea into a wider range of socio-cultural, economic, and political activities, such communities are moving towards becoming economically cooperative social entities and are usually characterized by small scale, co-construction, and co-creation. Community studies further point out that contemporary communities are somewhat decentralized, giving members a good sustainable mix of freedom and togetherness. This means that, compared to traditional communes, individualized differences within self-organizing communities are more prominent. They are susceptible to different cultural and political contexts, which have received little attention from Chinese scholars. To fill this gap, this study adopts ethnographic approaches to explore the lifestyle experiments of a self-organizing community (AnotherLand) in South China. It reviews the difficulties associated with identifying and characterizing SOCs. It examines how this self-organizing community maintains its sustainability by experimenting with specific lifestyles (internal factors) and building extensive social networks (external factors). It further suggests that sustainability should be taken as an essential conceptual framework for embodying the success or failure of self-organizing communities.
Keywords: Sustainability
Self-organizing communities
Alternative lifestyles
China studies
Publisher: Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI)
Journal: Sustainability 
EISSN: 2071-1050
DOI: 10.3390/su12041454
Rights: © 2020 by the author. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
The following publication Wang, P. Sustainability and Resilience of Alternative Lifestyles: An Ethnography of Self-organizing Communities in South China. Sustainability 2020, 12, 1454 is available at
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