Despite the pundits who have written its epitaph and the latter-day refugees who have fled its confines for the half-acre suburban estate, the city neighborhood has endured as an idea central to American culture. In A Nation of Neighborhoods, Benjamin Looker presents us with the city neighborhood as both an endless problem and a possibility. Looker investigates the cultural, social, and political complexities of the idea of "neighborhood" in postwar America and how Americans grappled with vast changes in their urban spaces from World War II to the Reagan era. In the face of urban decline, competing visions of the city neighborhood's significance and purpose became proxies for broader debates over the meaning and limits of American democracy. By studying the way these contests unfolded across a startling variety of genres-Broadway shows, radio plays, urban ethnographies, real estate documents, and even children's programming-Looker shows that the neighborhood ideal has functioned as a central symbolic site for advancing and debating theories about American national identity and democratic practice.
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Number of pages: 432
Weight: 590 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 28 mm
"Looker's A Nation of Neighborhoods is an extraordinary scholarly contribution, an original, deeply researched, elegantly written book that helps us look in fresh ways at postwar America. It represents the best of contemporary cultural history--sophisticated in its approaches, carefully bold in both its claims and its reach across the widest range of genres."--Daniel Horowitz "author of On the Cusp: The Yale College Class of 1960 and a World on the Verge of Change "
"Looker's A Nation of Neighborhoods brilliantly explores the 'conflicted yet central role of neighborhood concepts' in the national imagination. . . . A sweeping analysis of wide-ranging sources. . . . The range of texts serving as examples in the chronologically organized chapters is staggering."--Robert Fisher "Journal of American History "