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Pacific Historical Review

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Utopias -- Oregon, Urban policy -- Oregon, Rajneeshpuram (Or.) -- History, Religion and state -- Oregon -- Rajneeshpuram -- History, Osho (1931-1990)


During 1981-1985, the followers of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh built a large utopian community in eastern Oregon's solitude and named it Rajneeshpuram. While Rajneeshpuram appeared to be physically isolated and removed from government intervention, it was actually embedded in a dense system of laws and bureaucratic regulations, quite within reach of local, state, and national bureaucracies. It was this ability of the local and state regulators to limit the development that was one of the major factors for the sudden collapse of Rajneeshpuram in the fall of 1985. Other contributing factors were the growing disaffection and factionalism within the commune leadership and the decline in the worldwide income that had underwritten the growth of the settlement. This case study underscores the value of enriching structural-functional models of the evolution of large-scale organization with an understanding of the historical and cultural basis of public action.


This is the publisher's final PDF. Published as Abbott, C. Utopia and Bureaucracy: The Fall of Rajneeshpuram, Oregon. Pacific Historical Review , Vol. 59, No. 1 (Feb., 1990), pp. 77-103. © 1990 by [the Regents of the University of California/Sponsoring Society or Association]. Copying and permissions notice: Authorization to copy this content beyond fair use (as specified in Sections 107 and 108 of the U. S. Copyright Law) for internal or personal use, or the internal or personal use of specific clients, is granted by [the Regents of the University of California] for libraries and other users, provided that they are registered with and pay the specified fee via Rightslink® on [JSTOR (] or directly with the Copyright Clearance Center,

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