In what became a classic rural community study, Lowry Nelson concluded in his first Mormon village series in the 1920's that the Mormon village is characterized by an extraordinary sense of solidarity. He claimed that this strong solidarity can be primarily explained by four factors of the social group: leadership, conflict, cooperation, and ideology. After resurveying the Mormon village in 1950, he concluded that solidarity had declined. However, a few problems become apparent to the present researcher looking back upon Nelson's findings. One of them is that Nelson never had a clear definition of solidarity to begin with. Another is that the research focus shifted between the first and the second Mormon village series. Primarily using ethnographic methods, the present research project attempts to derive a new definition and evaluation of solidarity within the Mormon village. The evidence produced by the study suggests that the solidarity is best not seen as uniformity, nor as coordinated action, but as an affective attachment to a common purpose. The original factors promoting solidarity are still relevant, but in different ways than they were seventy-five years ago. In addition, Mormon villagers have also found other means to promote solidarity in the local context. These include particular applications of gossip, service, and heritage or collective identity.



College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Sociology



Date Submitted


Document Type





Mormon cities and towns, Community, Religious aspects, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Solidarity