Advertisement

The Symbolic Ecology of Suburbia

  • Albert Hunter
Part of the Human Behavior and Environment book series (HUBE, volume 9)

Abstract

Where we live is a statement of who we are. In the exploding modern metropolis fewer and fewer people live in central cities, but people continue to live and find meaning for their lives in local communities. As metropolitan areas continue to grow in size and numbers, the communities people increasingly come to live in lie beyond the bounds of the central city in the fissionable fragments of countless surrounding suburban communities. For the most part, these suburban communities are far removed from the small towns and villages, the pastoral settings of a bygone era depicted in nostalgic Norman Rockwell paintings. The shopping mall has replaced Main Street, the regional high school the two-room schoolhouse, and the suburban split-level the frame farmhouse. The melding of urban and rural, for better or worse, that was attempted in the idealized Utopian setting of suburbia has generated a long list of both apologists and critics. Only within the past few decades, however, has the more neutral eye of the analytical social scientist begun to elicit the crystallized pattern of social and spatial order and the patterns of change apparent in this metropolitan puzzle. No longer is it sufficient to denigrate the conformity and complacency of suburbanites who fled the teeming freedom and anonymity of the cultured city left behind nor to wax bucolic about the spacious greenlands of innocent euphoric childhood on the city’s rim to which people migrated. Rather, the questions have more prosaically come to center upon the realities of how it is people go about the routine business of constructing their everyday lives—of getting a living, making a home, raising a family, and finding meaning to lives lived on the fringe of the modern metropolis.

Keywords

Metropolitan Area Central City Collective Identity Suburban Community Ecological Reality 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Altschuler, A. (1970). Community control New York: Pegasus.Google Scholar
  2. Arnold, D. (1970). Dimensional sampling. American Sociologist, 5, 147–150.Google Scholar
  3. Bell, W. (1972). The city, the suburb, and a theory of social choice. In S. Greer & D. Miner (Eds.), The new urbanization (pp. 132-168). Chicago: Aldine.Google Scholar
  4. Bell, W., & Boat, M. D. (1957). Urban neighborhoods and informal social relations. American Journal of Sociology, 62, 391–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Berger, B. (1960). Working class suburb. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  6. Berger, P., & Luckman, T. (1966). The social construction of reality. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  7. Bogue, D. J. (1949). The structure of the metropolitan community. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  8. Burgess, E. W. (1925). The growth of the city. In R. E. Park & E. W. Burgess (Eds.), The city (pp. 47–62). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  9. Cooley, C. W. (1920). Social process. New York: Scribner.Google Scholar
  10. Dahl, R. (1961). Who governs? New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Davidson, J. (1979). Political partnerships. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  12. Firey, W. (1945). Sentiment and symbolism as ecological variables. American Sociological Review, 10, 140–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fritz, R. (1986). Suburb under seige. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL.Google Scholar
  14. Gans, H. J. (1967). The Levittowners. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  15. Geertz, C. (1963). Old societies and new states. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  16. Goffman, E. (1967). Interaction ritual. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  17. Gras, N. S. B. (1922). Introduction to economic history. New York: Harper.Google Scholar
  18. Harris, C. D., & Ullman, E. L. (1945). The nature of cities. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 242, 7–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hirschman, A. (1974). Exit, voice, and loyalty. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Hoyt, H. (1939). The structure and growth of residential neighborhoods in American cities. Washington, DC: U.S. Federal Housing Administration.Google Scholar
  21. Hunter, A. (1974). Symbolic communities. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  22. Hunter, A. (1979). Why Chicago? The rise of the Chicago School of urban social science. American Behavioral Scientist, 18, 44–56.Google Scholar
  23. Hunter, A. (1984). Local community autonomy/dependency: Elite perceptions. Social Science Quarterly, 65, 181–189.Google Scholar
  24. Hunter, A., & Riger, S. (1986). The meaning of community in community mental health. Journal of Community Psychology, 14, 55–71.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Jacobs, J. (1984). The mall. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press.Google Scholar
  26. Kain, J. (1968). The distribution and movement of jobs and industry. In J. Q. Wilson (Ed.), The metropolitan enigma (pp. 1-43) Garden City, NY: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  27. Kasarda, J. D. (1980). The implications of contemporary redistribution trends for national urban policy. Social Science Quarterly, 61, 373–400.Google Scholar
  28. Laska, S., & Spain, D. (Eds.). (1980). Back to the city. New York: Pergamon.Google Scholar
  29. Logan, J. R. (1978). Growth, politics, and the stratification of places. American Journal of Sociology, 84, 404–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Logan, J. R. (1981). The stratification of metropolitan suburbs: 1960-1970. American Sociological Review, 46, 175–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lynch, K. (1960). The image of the city. Cambridge, MA: M.I.T. Press.Google Scholar
  32. Lynch, K. (1972). What time is this place? Cambridge, MA: M.I.T. Press.Google Scholar
  33. Mead, G. H. (1934). Mind, self, and society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  34. Merriam, C., Parratt, S. D., & Lepawsky, A. (1933). The government of the metropolitan region of Chicago. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  35. Mills, C. W. (1959). The sociological imagination. New York: Oxford.Google Scholar
  36. Ogburn, W. F. (1957). Cultural lag as theory. Sociology and Social Research, 41, 167–173.Google Scholar
  37. Popenoe, D. (1977). The suburban environment. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  38. Portes, A., & Walton, J. (1981). Labor, class, and the international system. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  39. Proshansky, H. M., Fabian, A. K., & Kaminoff, R. (1983). Place-identity: Physical world socialization of the self. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 3, 57–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Rivlin, L. G. (1982). Group membership and place meanings in an urban neighborhood. Journal of Social Issues, 38, 75–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Rossi, P. H. (1955). Why families move. Glencoe, IL: Free Press.Google Scholar
  42. Shevky, E., & Bell, W. (1955). Social area analysis. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Simpson, C. A. (1981). SoHo: The artist in the city. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  44. Stein, M. (1960). The eclipse of community. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  45. Steinnes, D. N. (1982). Suburbanization and the “mailing of America.” Urban Affairs Quarterly, 17, 401–418.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Suttles, G. D. (1972). The social construction of communities. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  47. Taeuber, C., & Taeuber, I. (1965). Negroes in cities: Residential segregation and neighborhood change. Chicago: Aldine.Google Scholar
  48. Taub, R. P., Surgeon, G. P., Lindholm, S., Otti, P. B., & Bridges, A. (1977). Urban voluntary association, locality based and externally induced. American Journal of Sociology, 83, 425–442.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Taylor, R., Gottfredson, S., & Brower, S. (1984). Neighborhood naming as an index of attachment to place. Population and Environment, 7, 103–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Vidich, A., & Bensman, J. (1958). Small town in mass society. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  51. Walton, J. (1982). Cities and jobs and politics. Urban Affairs Quarterly, 18, 19–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Warner, S. B. (1962). Streetcar suburbs: The process of growth in Boston, 1870-1900. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  53. Warren, R. L. (1973). Perspectives on the American community (2nd ed.). Skokie, II: Rand McNally.Google Scholar
  54. Weber, A. (1899). The growth of cities in the nineteenth century: A study in statistics. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  55. Wiewel, W., & Hunter, A. (1986). The interorganizational network as a resource: A comparative case study of organizational genesis. Administrative Science Quarterly, 30, 482–496.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Wood, R. (1964). 1400 governments. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Albert Hunter
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

Personalised recommendations