Book

Newcomers to Old Towns

Sonya Salamon

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print January 2003 | ISBN: 9780226734125
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226734118 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226734118.001.0001
Newcomers to Old Towns

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Although the death of the small town has been predicted for decades, during the 1990s the population of rural America actually increased by more than three million people. This book explores these rural newcomers and the impact they have on the social relationships, public spaces, and community resources of small town America. The author draws on richly detailed ethnographic studies of six small towns in central Illinois, including a town with upscale subdivisions that lured wealthy professionals as well as towns whose agribusinesses drew working-class Mexicano migrants and immigrants. She finds that regardless of the class or ethnicity of the newcomers, if their social status differs relative to that of oldtimers, their effect on a town has been the same: suburbanization that erodes the close-knit small town community, with especially severe consequences for small town youth. To successfully combat the homogenization of the heartland, the author argues, newcomers must work with oldtimers so that together they sustain the vital aspects of community life and identity what first drew them to small towns. An illustration of the recent revitalization of interest in the small town, this work provides a significant addition to the growing literature on the subject.

Keywords: small town America; rural America; social relationships; public spaces; community resources; Illinois; Mexicano migrants; social status; suburbanization; community

Book.  269 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Urban and Rural Studies

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