Just Sociology

Eden Lost: A Fascinating Look into Survival and Toxic Subcultures

The ‘Return to Eden’ social experiment was a reality television show that aired in 2016, in which 23 people were sent to a remote Scottish island to survive for a year without any modern amenities. The experiment aimed to explore how modern humans would adapt to a world without technology and to test the limits of human survival.

Subtopic 1: Experiment purpose and set up

The purpose of the experiment was to create a community from scratch and see how people would form relationships and work together to survive. Participants were provided with basic amenities such as a supply of water, wood, and basic tools but were not given any modern technology or outside assistance.

The idea was to see if the group could become self-sufficient and survive without the need for modern technology. Subtopic 2: Participants selection and equipment provided

The selection of participants was done through a rigorous process of interviews and psychological tests.

The participants were provided with basic equipment such as tents, cooking stoves, and fishing nets, and were given a crash course in survival skills before being sent to the island. Subtopic 3: Filming equipment and format

The experiment was filmed using fixed position cameras that were strategically placed around the camp.

In addition, a small crew followed the participants around and filmed their day-to-day activities. The format of the show was that of a documentary, with voiceovers from the participants and commentary from experts in the field of survival and group dynamics.

Main Topic: ‘Eden Lost’ documentary episodes

Subtopic 1: Overview of documentary format and timeline

The documentary aired over a period of eight episodes and followed the journey of the participants over the course of a year. The episodes were spaced out over time and provided updates on the progress of the group.

There was a media blackout on the experiment, which meant that the participants were not aware of how they were being perceived by the outside world. Subtopic 2: Group dynamics and division after first three months

After the first three months, the group began to splinter into cliques, with the more outgoing and outspoken members forming a tight-knit group.

The quieter members were left out and were often relegated to menial tasks. This division of labour created a power dynamic that favoured the more dominant members of the group and led to resentment among the outsiders.

Subtopic 3: Laddish subculture and misogyny of group of five males

One subgroup of five males created a laddish subculture that included a hierarchy of status and peer pressure amongst the men. This subculture was based on the division of labour by gender, with men doing the more physically demanding work and women doing the housekeeping.

This gendered division of labour led to the men belittling the women and making derogatory comments about them. Subtopic 4: Few women left in community and further entrenchment of male group’s power

As the experiment progressed, a number of women left the community due to the misogynistic attitudes of the male group.

This led to a further entrenchment of the male group’s power, as they became more confident in their ability to dominate the group dynamics without dissenting voices. Subtopic 5: Outsiders used as scapegoats and voted out by community

The outsiders were often used as scapegoats when things went wrong in the community.

They were blamed for being lazy or not pulling their weight, even if the problem was outside of their control. Eventually, the community held a vote to decide who should leave, and those who were not part of the dominant group were voted off the island.

Subtopic 6: Split between valley boys and other community members

A split occurred between the valley boys, the group of five males who dominated the community, and the other members. The valley boys became more isolated and focused on themselves, making derogatory comments about other community members.

This division led to tensions within the group that were not resolved before the end of the experiment. Subtopic 7: Departure of vet and artist due to relentless laddish subculture and disregard for animal welfare

Two participants, a vet and an artist, left the community due to their discomfort with the laddish subculture and disregard for animal welfare.

The vet was appalled by the mistreatment of the animals on the island, and the artist was uncomfortable with the aggressive and macho culture that had developed amongst the men. Subtopic 8: Contraband and mobile phone use undermining the experiment

Towards the end of the experiment, some of the participants were discovered to have smuggled contraband onto the island, including mobile phones.

This undermined the integrity of the experiment and caused controversy among viewers. Subtopic 9: Final episode and separation of two groups

The final episode showed the separation of the group into two factions, one led by the dominant male group and the other made up of outsiders and those who did not support their behaviour.

The episode ended with a beach party and the participants reflecting on their experiences over the past year. Conclusion:

The ‘Return to Eden’ social experiment highlighted the complexities of group dynamics and the impact of gendered division of labour in a confined community.

The experiment also showed the dangers of a toxic subculture and the importance of inclusion and respect amongst group members. The documentary series was an engaging and thought-provoking exploration of human nature and the impact of technology on our lives.

In conclusion, the ‘Return to Eden’ social experiment and its subsequent documentary, ‘Eden Lost,’ provided a fascinating look into the complexities of group dynamics in a survival scenario. It highlighted the importance of mutual respect and inclusion in a community and showcased the dangers of toxic subcultures and power dynamics.

As a society, we can learn important lessons from the experiences of the participants in the experiment and strive to create more equitable and inclusive communities.


Q: Was the experiment ethical?

A: The experiment was approved by ethics committees and participants were provided with basic amenities and psychological support throughout the experiment. Q: Did the experiment succeed in its goals?

A: The experiment succeeded in its goals of exploring how modern humans would adapt to a world without technology and testing the limits of human survival. Q: Were the participants compensated for their participation?

A: Yes, the participants were compensated for their participation in the experiment. Q: Was the documentary sensationalized for ratings?

A: While some critics accuse the documentary of being sensationalized, it remains a fascinating exploration of group dynamics in a survival scenario. Q: Were the participants aware that the show was going to be aired on national television?

A: Yes, the participants were informed that the show would be aired on television, but they were not aware of how they were being perceived by the outside world during the experiment.

Popular Posts