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Date: Mon, 8 Mar 1999 11:06:25 -0800 (PST)
From: alison bourke (
Subject: the glen of the downs

help wanted with college thesis on people living in protest camps

(info re experiences, ideas, backgrounds, motivations etc)

if u are can help in any way, please email Alison at

My name is Alison - I spent some time on site at Glen of the Downs in '98 because I was interested in saving the glen and wanted to show my support. I met some really interesting people down there and learned a lot. Subsequently, when asked to choose a thesis topic for my communications studies course, I chose to do it on land living, why it's so important and the people who choose to do it.

It seemed to me, when I got back from the glen to return to college, everyone was like; "What kind of people stay down there, how do they live, what makes them do it, why is it so important to them?" and so on. The idea that someone would give up tv and radiators and live in a tree house in all seasons, risking the possibility of arrest and injury, for a cause, was completely bizarre. The idea that someone would live on the land, despite the cause, as a way of life, was incomprehensible. Yet it seems that this way of life is growing nowadays, for example in new age travelers, neo pagans, vigil keepers, and so on and on.

I really admired most of the people who I met at the glen, but even I couldn't explain most of the above questions, having stayed there only a short time.

In this thesis I want to try and go into the reasons why eco warriors, vigil keepers and any one else who ends up on a site, are motivated to do so. What are the agents of change that have made land living so important now in the 90s?, what are the belief or value systems from which some one who lives like this draws his motivations? Is being a vigil keeper a job or a way of life? Are people who live together on site a community, a sub culture or environmentalists thrown together for the sake of the cause at hand? What elements have been drawn from other ways of life or religions to influence the vigil keepers at the glen of the downs, or any other kind of land living group. Do those who live there usually have the same kind of backgrounds, demographics, etc?

if you can help in any way, it wd really be appreciated!

Alison Burke <>

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