Chapter

Conclusion: Are Americans Ready to Settle Down?

in Restless Nation

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2000 | ISBN: 9780226394787
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226394732 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226394732.003.0010
Conclusion: Are Americans Ready to Settle Down?

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A sense of roots is the obvious antidote to restlessness. Americans tend to think of roots as family connections. But roots also involve a sense of a place where one is “rooted,” in a soil that nurtures people, as well as an associated sense of community broader than just the family. Americans do care about their places: they protest against proposed incursions and invest time and money in reshaping their surroundings. Americans nonetheless try to define their identity by their lack of place: they see themselves as people who are ready to move anywhere to take advantage of new opportunities. For Americans the road itself is a place, in fact their favorite place. Roadsides, boomtowns, and riverboats are all places where Americans feel at home, constructing a sense of identity built around movement rather than place. Rootedness is part of a broader sense of limits, which Americans have hidden under all their motion and anxiety.

Keywords: restlessness; roots; boomtowns; sense of identity; family connections; community

Chapter.  6002 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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