Principles of Rebellion, Autonomy and Reform in a Communitarian Society: An Exploration of Freetown Christiania in Copenhagen
The narrative of Christiania is a description of the emergence and development of the alternative within the cultural, political and social sphere of a modern European city. The thesis of this paper will focus on three principles: Rebellion, autonomy and reform. The idea is that these three principles constitute the foundation of Christiania as an alternative commune. These principles were not born in an instant but instead they were progressively, or organically, developed through time. The principles also symbolize three different development stages in Christiania's history being: Rebellion (1969 – 1971) autonomy (1975- 1976) and reform (1976 - 1987). The purpose of this thesis is to chart a descriptive narrative of the development of these communal principles and organization mechanisms within the context of Christiania. The first chapter will underline the principle of rebellion to illustrate how the initial founding principle of the community was based on a collective disregard to mainstream culture and laws. This section incorporates the theoretical framework of influential figures in the 1960s counterculture movement to illustrate how Christiania’s rebellion may have been influenced by the counter cultural thought and values of the 1960s. The section will also underline the relationship between state opposition and counter cultural rebellion to understand the emerging phases of such rebellion as a response to authoritarian action. The following section will then introduce the history of Christiania from 1969 to 1971, to give background and historical context to the principle of rebellion apparent in the Danish squatters movement and Christiania. Following the history of Christiania, the chapter will underline the difference between the evicted squatted houses of the 1960s Danish squatters movement and Christiania to show the different approach to rebellion that Christiania adopted in 1971. The aim of this chapter is to show how the principle of rebellion against the law and mainstream culture was a critical and influential principle during Christiania’s establishment. The second chapter addresses the emergence of the principle of autonomy to show how Christiania residents developed their own communal form of political and social organizational structure. The first part of this chapter will use the theoretical framework of Terence Mckenna, an influential figure of the 1960s-counter culture movement, in order to give necessary background information on the emergence of countercultural politics. The second part will introduce the history of Christiania from 1975 to 1976, to give historical context and background on the communal practices of autonomy. The following part will underline the emergence of Christiania’s exclusive political consciousness and identity between residents. The aim of this chapter is to illustrate how the principle of autonomy and the rise of political consciousness was of vital importance in Christiania’s development during its first establishing years. The third chapter will demonstrate the principle of reform to show how the community developed reorganizational methods in response to various challenges concerning Christiania’s drug market. The first part of this chapter will address the role that Christiana’s political system played in reorganizing the commune and implementing new laws and regulations. The second part will introduce the history of Christiania from 1976 to 1987, to give historical context on communal practices of reform. The following part of this study will address Christiania’s ban of hard drugs to illustrate how such a ban resulted in major acts or reorganization. The final part will address Christiania’s drug market to show how residents implemented various laws and regulations in order to control and normalize such a market. The aim of this chapter is to show how Christiania managed to reform its position and laws in response to police forces, organized crime and its own established soft drug market. The reform chapter will aim to demonstrate how the commune is constantly adapting its image and values to changing conditions. The three principles, rebellion autonomy and reform, symbolize the process of establishment, legitimacy and integration of an alternative society within a modern European city. What such principles offer is a chance to understand the rise of politics, culture and tradition on the level of a micro society. It also underlines the importance of social legitimacy and mobilization in the establishment of communal principles.
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