Date of Graduation

Spring 2014


Master of Arts in Communication



Committee Chair

Charlene Berquist


intentional community, social identity, qualitative, East Wind, communication, tensions

Subject Categories



The purpose of this qualitative study is to explore how members of an intentional community communicatively co-construct their sense of community identity. This study focuses on East Wind intentional community in southern Missouri. Framed by concepts from Social Identity Theory, this study uses participant observation, field interviewing, and document analysis to examine communication behaviors used in the community. It is argued that the communicative negotiation of tensions between opposing forces in community life function to construct the community's ever-shifting sense of identity. The two central tensions identified in this study to which the community members give voice are: the tension between order and disorder and the tension between in-groups and out-groups. The historical and social roots of these tensions are explored, and examples of how these tensions manifest in the community are identified. It is concluded that the ongoing communicative negotiation of these and other tensions give form to the community members' sense of identity.


© Jason A. Howard

Campus Only