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The Shanti Sena “Peace Center” and the Non-Policing of an Anarchist Temporary Autonomous Zone: Rainbow Family Peacekeeping Strategies

Michael I. Niman Ph.D., Buffalo State College

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Author Posting. (c) 'Copyright Holder', 2011. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of 'Copyright Holder' for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Contemporary Justice Review, Volume 14 Issue 1, March 2011. >doi:10.1080/10282580.2011.541077 (


This article utilizes ethnographic methods and government documents to examine the self-policing and peacekeeping strategies of the Rainbow Family, a nonviolent acephalous intentional community that holds massive weeklong gatherings around the globe. It is a case study that examines the efficacy of these methods, comparing them to those traditional police agencies employ under similar conditions. It contextualizes these strategies by examining other utopian and anarchist communities and movements such as Critical Mass bike rides. This study demonstrates how smiling, chanting, listening, social pressure, and social capital all play into forming a more effective and less violent approach toward peacekeeping.

Suggested Citation

Niman, Michael I.(2011) 'The Shanti Sena 'peace center' and the non-policing of an anarchist temporary autonomous zone: Rainbow Family peacekeeping strategies', Contemporary Justice Review, 14: 1, 65 — 7

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CJR-published.pdf (118 kB)