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Dr. Matt Israel at least came close to founding a community that was to be called Walden Three. The behaviorist and university professor Keith Miller also became involved in a cooperative housing project that he considered a major step toward the eventual establishment of a Walden Two community. The development of these threeWalden Two experiments initiated by professional behaviorists will now be discussed in more detail. 5 Sunflower House sunflower house is a student cooperative in Lawrence, Kansas, that was initiated by the behaviorist professor Keith Miller in 1969.Discovering funds left over from the dissolution of older student cooperatives in Lawrence, Miller led the way in the purchase of a house by the University of Kansas Student Housing Association (UKSHA), the agency in charge of the funds, for the explicit purpose of reestablishing a student cooperative (Sunflower House 11). The house was named the Campus Improvement Association, commonly abbreviated to CIA House,and almost immediately turned into a “hotbed of student activism.” Rather than being the site of orderly research,the house “was a crash pad, with dogs and guests outnumbering members.” Routine housework was left undone,members failed to “share day-to-day chores and neglected management responsibilities.” It became clear to the initiators, Miller and the UKSHA, that something needed to be done. As a result, the house was “shut down for a thorough cleaning and reorganization” and reopened in the spring of 1972 as Sunflower House (Sunflower House 11). Part of the reopening was the introduction of a work-sharing system that was regarded by its initiators, Keith Miller and his graduate student Richard Feallock, as an important step toward the development of a behavioral technology that would serve a “voluntary community of adults”: “Our goal was to develop a system for sharing the work, and, according to our analysis, the reasons that other experiments in living (particularly local ‘communes’) failed was that they did not have an effective system for sharing the work. Therefore, we focused on developing such a system, and we succeeded in doing so” (Miller and Feallock 86). sunflower house . 51 02.41-78_Kuhl.indd 51 3/29/05 4:01:04 PM 52 . walden two among behaviorists Miller and Feallock considered the implementation of an effective system of sharing household tasks as perhaps the most important requirement for the success of any attempt at alternative living. Developing a work-sharing system that could be generalized and then transferred to other groups besides Sunflower House filled the professor and graduate student with confidence that they were well on their way toward proving the feasibility of a Walden Two: “Our first step will be to use this set of specifications to replicate the present system with a similar group. Hopefully, we could then train other groups so that they could also start such a program. Our second step will probably be to extend the system to an adult living group involving families and children. If we are fortunate enough to move even part way along that path, a real, functioning, specifiable, Walden Two may not be too far off!” (Miller and Feallock 96). Miller and Feallock were confident that they were at least on their way toward discovering a solution to the “breakdown of the equal sharing of housework as the major cause of the failure of communal experiments” by transferring the concept of “point economies from institutionalized to noninstitutionalized settings and as an extension from dependent populations to legally competent adult populations” (Feallock and Miller 287). The student cooperative’s work-sharing system as introduced in 1972 was “loosely based on a token economy—a system for distributing rewards contingent on desirable behavior” (Sunflower House 11). In the case of Sunflower House, the desired behavior was housecleaning, the reward a reduction in the monthly rent. Students moving into Sun- flower House agreed to pay rent that included the potential costs of a janitor and cleaning crew and subsequently were reimbursed if they partook satisfactorily in taking over the responsibilities of the nonexistent janitor and cleaning crew. This meant that every student had to earn a hundred credits every week in order to receive the monthly rent reduction. A list specified which jobs needed to be done every week and how much credit could be earned for doing them. The credit value was “based on the length of time that the job should normally take and the desirability of the job...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780252091650
Related ISBN
9780252029622
MARC Record
OCLC
811409117
Pages
264
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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