This study is motivated by an interest in social movements that involve an abandonment of conventional lifestyles, and experimentation with new ones. This involves new forms of housing, identification, notions of community and family, and other value systems that contest consumer capitalism.
To explore this, I will carry out an ethnographic study looking into the lives of two collectives of “New Travellers.” The first being the oldest known commune of its kind: the somewhat legendary “Tipi Valley” which remains in West Wales today, having been established in 1975. The second is a new collective that grouped together during the end of summer in 2017 after enduring much difficulty dwelling on the streets of Bristol. Both communities have successfully negotiated with local authorities and landowners to secure a legitimate place to dwell, where they are now practicing “horizontal” (and arguably quite “anarchistic”) modes of social organisation.
The experiences of those living on these two sites are extremely unique so, following typical ethnographic conventions, will not be considered generalisable. However, it will be considered what possibilities these sites present, and how the current policy context is perhaps inhibiting further exploration of such potentialities.