This isn’t really supposed to be an academic website but the concept of an alternative milieu is central to how I have explained the emergence of Totnes as an alternative place.
When I started the research I was struck by the contradiction between the complexity and diversity of alternative practices and the simplistic place images of Totnes as “Green”, “Hippy” or “New Age”. The idea of an alternative milieu is supposed to capture the diversity of different countercultural activities that have emerged in the area, many of which have their roots in the 1960s Counterculture. Within the PhD I divide these activities into five categories
– Radical politics (i.e. attempts to change the political and economic system itself)
– Social movements (environmentalism, feminism etc)
– Alternative Pathways (attempts to build alternative institutions such as alternative health, education and agriculture).
– Alternative spiritualities (many of the Eastern philosophies which became popular in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as practices associated with the new age
– Alternative lifestyles (back-to-the-land, co-operative living, squatting etc)
Seen through this lens then there is a diversity of different practices, institutions and networks which have become present within the area. Whilst I argue that Dartington was central to the establishment of the milieu it has since become a self sustaining phenomena. You can read more about this process in the paper here.