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Fenced off: The Suburbanization of American Politics / Edition 1

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Overview

Since the 1980s a distinctive suburban politics has emerged in the United States, Juliet F. Gainsborough argues in Fenced Off. As suburbs have become less economically and socially dependent on the central cities, suburban and urban dwellers have diverged not only in their voting patterns but also in their thinking about national politics. While political reporters have long noted this difference, few quantitative studies have been conducted on suburbanization alone -- above and beyond race or class -- as a political trend.

Using census and public opinion statistics, along with data on congressional districts and party platforms, Gainsborough demonstrates that this "ideology of localism" weakens when suburbs experience city-like problems and strengthens when racial and economic differences with the nearby city increase. In addition, Gainsborough uses national survey data from the 1950s to the 1990s to show that a separate suburban politics has arisen only during the last two decades.

Further, she argues, the political differences between urban and suburban voters have found expression in changes in congressional representation and new electoral strategies for the major political parties. As Congressional districts become increasingly suburban, "soccer moms" and liveability agendas come to dominate party platforms, and the needs of the urban poor disappear from political debate. Fenced Off uses the tools of political science to prove what political commentators have sensed -- that the suburbs offer a powerful voting bloc that is being courted with sophisticated new strategies.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Gainsborough (U. of Miami) notes that while political commentators and reporters have frequently argued that understanding the suburbs is central to understanding contemporary politics, political science has largely ignored the relationship between modern suburbs and political behavior. She explores both historical and contemporary suburban political behavior, analyzing census data, public opinion, congressional behavior and party platforms to demonstrate how the connection between suburban living and political behavior has changed over time<-->and now has emerged as a significant feature of the political landscape. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780878408313
  • Publisher: Georgetown University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2001
  • Series: American Governance and Public Policy Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Juliet F. Gainsborough is an associate professor of political science at Bentley University.

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Table of Contents

Preface
1 Suburban Myths Then and Now: Camptown and Arroyo Blanco 1
2 Political Science and the Suburbs 6
3 What Is a Suburb? 31
4 Laying the Groundwork: Methodological Issues 52
5 Party Identification, Vote Choice, and Policy Preferences in the Suburbs 66
6 Suburban Diversity and Metropolitan Context 80
7 Suburban Representation in Congress 100
8 Party Politics and the Suburbs 116
9 Prospects for the Future 136
App: Tables 143
Bibliography 173
Index 185
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