American Sociological Association

Epilogue: Lessons from the Sociology of Small Cities and Other Understudied Locales

My sociological imagination was ignited in a small New England town, complete with rolling hills, farm fields, and forest, a three‐classroom‐schoolhouse, Methodist church, general store, and Town Hall. On the one hand, the town was seemingly removed from some of the defining characteristics of the United States in the 1980s; indeed, on a good day, our television antenna captured two stations and the nearest mall was more than thirty miles away. On the other hand, many of the same cultural, economic, and social forces that influenced the nearest big cities of Boston and New York marked my little town. Gentrification, in the form of the in‐movement of college educated back‐to‐the‐landers seeking the rural idyll via establishing organic farms and gathering at secluded swimming holes, shaped debates on the Town Hall floor and helped to produce rising home values and property tax bills. Meanwhile, the increasing power of corporate agriculture meant that the small dairy farms that dotted the landscape in my early years closed one by one; today, only one family dairy farm remains in operation. 


Japonica Brown‐Saracino





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