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Community : Pursuing the Dream, Living the Reality - Suzanne Keller


Pursuing the Dream, Living the Reality

Paperback Published: 6th March 2005
ISBN: 9780691123257
Number Of Pages: 334

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This book tells the story of how a human community comes to be and how aspirations for the good life confront the dilemmas and detours of real life. Suzanne Keller combines penetrating analysis of classic ideas about community with a remarkable and unprecedented thirty-year case study of one of the first "planned unit developments" in America and the first in New Jersey. Twin Rivers, this pioneering venture, featured townhouses and shared spaces for children's play and adult work and play in a society that stresses individual over collective goals and private over public concerns. Hence the timeless questions asked over millennia: How does an aggregate of strangers create an identity of place, shared goals, viable institutions, and a spirit of mutuality and reciprocity? What obstacles stand in the way and how are these overcome? And how does design generate (or deter) community spirit?

Inspired by the legacy of Plato, Rousseau, de Tocqueville, and Tonnies, Keller traces the difficult birth and the rich unfolding of Twin Rivers from a former potato field into a vibrant contemporary community. Most community studies remain at a highly descriptive level. This book has both broader and deeper aims, endeavoring to develop principles of the common life as we enter the age of cyberspace.

Keller reveals the community of Twin Rivers through a multidimensional social microscope, having monitored the community from the day it opened by participant observation, attitude surveys, the study of collective records, and nearly 1,000 in-depth interviews with homeowners. She offers fascinating insight into how residents maintain privacy, relate to neighbors, cope with social conflict, and develop ideas about the common good. She shows that Twin Rivers residents remain hopeful about the possibility of community despite variable success in achieving their desires. Indeed, she argues that the hard-won experience, more than the utopian ideal, is the true measure of community.

Keller concludes that, despite the homogenizing effects of mass communication and globalization, local communities will continue to proliferate in the foreseeable future--due to changing lifestyles and the continuing quest for roots. This important and engaging book will be appreciated by social scientists, architects, physical planners, developers and lenders, and community leaders as well as by the general reader interested in creating a bridge between individualism and community.

Industry Reviews

Winner of the 2005 Amalfi European Prize for sociology and social sciences, Sociological Theories and Social Transformations Section of the Italian Sociological Association "Although many books have been written about community, this one is unique for combining background information with a detailed case study. [Keller demonstrates] passion for her subject and superior scholarship."--Library Journal "Suzanne Keller has given us a new classic in the study of community ... perhaps the most comprehensive account of community formation and development ever written... [A] superb addition to the study of community. Methodologically strong and theoretically sophisticated, this book makes an important contribution to urban studies and sociology more broadly."--Alexander R. Thomas, Contemporary Sociology "Community represents an extraordinary effort... The book is fascinating and insightful. It is a first-rate ethnography and history, and it also contains a rich discussion of the literature of community, ranging from Plato to modern cyberspace."--David Halle, American Journal of Sociology "The book is extremely well written. This interesting book will be of value to anyone engaged in community development today."--Social Development Issues

List of Tablesp. ix
Prefacep. xi
Community as Image and Idealp. 1
Community: The Passionate Questp. 3
Historic Models of Communityp. 16
Key Theories and Conceptsp. 37
A Community Is Launchedp. 49
Twin Rivers Time Line 1970-2000p. 51
Creating Rootsp. 49
Twin Rivers: The First Planned Unit Development in New Jerseyp. 53
The Residents Appraise Their Environsp. 75
Securing the Vox Populi: The Struggle for Self-Governmentp. 87
Creating a Collective Selfp. 109
Joiners and Organizers: Community Participationp. 111
Sociability in a New Communityp. 123
Building the Foundationsp. 147
Space, Place, and Designp. 149
Private and Public: Whose Rights, Whose Responsibilities?p. 168
Go Fight City Hall: The First Lawsuitp. 190
Leaders as Lightning Rodsp. 202
Unity and Division, Conflict and Consensusp. 216
Summary of Key Findingsp. 233
Old Imperatives, New Directionsp. 245
The Continuing Salience of the Local Communityp. 247
Concluding Reflectionsp. 265
Epilogue: Is There Community in Cyberspace?p. 291
Appendixp. 299
Bibliographyp. 309
Acknowledgmentsp. 325
Indexp. 327
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691123257
ISBN-10: 069112325X
Series: Princeton Studies in Cultural Sociology
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 334
Published: 6th March 2005
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.56 x 14.99  x 2.18
Weight (kg): 0.46