Everyday Utopia

Everyday Utopia

In Praise of Radical Alternatives to the Traditional Family Home


The traditional 'nuclear' family home is a problem: it places unfair and unnecessary burdens on women (and men too), it entrenches inequalities, it entraps us financially and it hinders certain kinds of child development. Also, it doesn't seem to make us very happy.

And yet throughout history and around the world today, forward-thinking communities have pioneered alternative ways of living - from the all-female 'beguinages' of medieval Belgium to the matriarchal ecovillages of contemporary Colombia; from the ancient Greek commune founded by Pythagoras, where men and women lived as equals and shared property, to present-day Connecticut, where new laws make it easier for extra 'alloparents' to help raise children not their own. Some of these experiments burned brightly and briefly; others are living proof of what is possible.

Everyday Utopia upends our assumptions and raises our sights by gathering these and many more inspiring examples together, arguing that many of the most important and effective ways of changing our lives and the world are to be found in the home. The result is a radically hopeful and practical vision of more connected - and contented - ways of living.


  • History is made by the dreamers ... A must-read
    THOMAS PIKETTY, author of A Brief History of Equality

About the author

Kristen Ghodsee

Kristen Ghodsee is a feminist ethnographer and the author of Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism. She is professor of Russian and East European Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and recipient of the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship for her work in anthropology and cultural studies. Her articles and essays have appeared in many publications including the New York Times and the Washington Post.
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