Terra Aquarius : a Marxist analysis of the alternative lifestyle in Nimbin : a thesis presented in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of PhD. in Social Anthropology at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
This thesis looks at the alternative lifestyle culture in Northern New South Wales, particularly those alternative lifestyle participants living around the township of Nimbin. I use a Marxist analysis, incorporating historical materialist ethnographic techniques. The primary purpose of this study was to gain insights into the class structure of modern capitalist societies. I look at Nimbin's rural peripheral status and examine how this has impacted upon transport and work patterns, on migration, and on tourism. I consider the role the alternative settlers play in the rural economy, the "urban" culture introduced by the new settlers, the effects of welfare subsistence on the economy, and the articulation of drug-use with the economy and with the ideology of the alternative lifestyle participants. This analysis also identifies how these processes have led to an engendering of an ethnic or class identity among the alternative lifestyle community, and of their political engagement with the national economy. I show the extent to which the alternative lifestyle community forms a distinct micro-class, the benefit peasantry, and the economic, social and cultural characteristics particular to that class, and the role of migration as the primary class-forming process. On the basis of this research I make predictions about the future development of the alternative lifestyle class, the effect of the alternative lifestyle community on Australian capitalism, and the inter-generational inheritability of the class position as the children of the original migrants reach adulthood.