The Oneida Community

A 19th century American utopian experiment.

1 Response to Oneida

  1. Spencer Bennington says:

    As far as something that truly left an impression in my mind regarding the Oneida community is concept of Complex Marriage. The idea is first introduced in Chapter two but detailed later on in the text is well. Complex marriage basically licenses anyone in the community to have sexual relations with one another so long as the partner is consenting. It also encourages the older men and women to be sexual guides for children as young as twelve and thirteen. The notion is with the purpose of preventing anyone from maintaining an idea of personal property or developing any feelings of duty towards anything other than the community as a whole. In an ideal setting Complex Marriage also eliminates adultery, hidden lust, jealous spouses, and other such crimes of passion.
    I’m not so surprised or shocked by the concept or the actual act of sexually sharing multiple members in the community, but I am more intrigued by how the concept of a civil monogamous marriage is so threatening to the existence of a communist state. I never thought about how the issue of spousal loyalty could disrupt the structure of community devotion until reading this. Apparently the issue of marriage has been one to trouble communist leaders and powerful state regimes for quite some time as it is the central conflict in Orwell’s 1984 and mentioned in many of Marx’s writings.

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