Fenced Off: The Suburbanization of American Politics

Fenced Off: The Suburbanization of American Politics

Fenced Off: The Suburbanization of American Politics

Fenced Off: The Suburbanization of American Politics

Excerpt

From “angry white males” to “soccer moms,” talk of the suburban voter has dominated much of the popular political commentary of the last several election cycles. However, while suburbanization received attention from academics during the 1950s and 1960s, very little recent work has been done on the topic. This book is an attempt to use some of the tools of political science to explore an argument that seems self-evident to many political observers: place matters.

My interest in place developed naturally, out of my own varied experiences of place—growing up in England; attending high school in Los Angeles, college in Berkeley, graduate school in Boston; and visiting my parents in their new home of Washington, D.C. The intersection between place and politics was sharply illustrated for me when I moved from the predominantly Republican suburb of Santa Clarita to the decidedly left-of-center city of Berkeley. And this sense of the importance of place was crystallized by the experience of writing a senior thesis exploring Santa Clarita’s incorporation campaign. For encouraging me in this endeavor and in the subsequent decision to go to graduate school, I have Sandy Muir to thank. Among other comments on my thesis, he included the remark that I would surely draw on these ideas for many years to come; how right he was.

This is only the first of many intellectual and personal debts incurred along the way as my interest in the politics of place moved from research paper to dissertation to book. Paul Peterson, Sidney Verba, and Bradley Palmquist all read drafts of each chapter and offered important feedback and criticism. They also provided useful professional advice at crucial moments. In particular, I am indebted to Paul Peterson for well-timed words of encouragement.

I was especially fortunate at Harvard to meet a remarkable group of fellow graduate students, without whose friendship this book would never have been completed. In particular, Sini Gandhi, Pat Joyce, Eric Thun, and Karissa Price helped me shape the original idea into dissertation form and sustained me through the years with invaluable and uncountable talks, laughs, and cups of coffee. Sini even came up with the idea of using “fenced off” for the title. My luck in finding col-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.