Re-imagining the utopian: Transformation of a sustainable lifestyle in ecovillages

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This research elucidates the transformative nature of sustainable lifestyles in ecovillages as ostensibly utopian spaces. Using archival data from several ecovillages, in-depth interviews with ecovillage residents, and participatory observations made at the EcoVillage at Ithaca (EVI), New York, and Imeceevi, Turkey, the article explains the processes by which utopian ideals are re-imagined and re-configured based on the social configuration of the sustainable lifestyle. The findings suggest that consumers organize alternative life modes in their quest to explore and internalize environmentally sustainable lifestyles in multi-faceted ideological fields. The study documents the transformation of ecovillages from intentional to incidentally utopian communities where residents equally prioritize and contest relational sustainability. Drawing on these findings, the article also presents public policy implications on new educational programs and sharing economy.

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© 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Publisher's version of record: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2015.07.026

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Journal of Business Research