Landdyke landscapes: the politics, participants, and praxis of the lesbian land movement

Anahita, Jensine
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This dissertation explores the contemporary U.S. women's land movement, known also as the lesbian land movement, and most recently, the landdyke movement. Data for the study is provided by a set of qualitative interviews with 32 movement participants. Of special interest are the politics of the movement and the set of practices participants utilize to embody their politics. The format of the dissertation is four articles for submission to peer-reviewed journals, and introductory and concluding chapters.;The first chapter introduces the three chapters that follow, and situates the landdyke movement sociologically and historically. The chapter compares the contemporary landdyke movement with a peculiar 19th century separatist women's community, the Sanctificationists. The second chapter is an ethnography of the movement, and utilizes the concept of ecological niches as its analytical framework to argue that the movement provides niches for lesbians that are unavailable to them elsewhere. The third chapter examines the strategies participants utilize to embody movement politics, using the metaphor of tools. This chapter contends that members of the movement literally embody movement strategies. The fourth chapter analyzes the early origins of the lesbian land movement and the processes by which participants, ideas, and practices flow into and out of the movement. Using images of fluidity, especially confluence, this chapter describes how the movement both benefits and faces challenges due to confluence, and how its practitioners manage confluence. The fifth chapter is a general conclusion for the dissertation. It draws the four articles embedded in the dissertation together, and proposes some of the contributions of the study and its limitations. Using these limitations, suggestions are made for future research.