The Cosmopolitan Canopy: Race and Civility in Everyday Life

Overview

Praise for The Cosmopolitan Canopy

The Cosmopolitan Canopy is vintage Elijah Anderson—original, creative, engaging, and thought provoking. Once I began reading this brilliant book I could not put it down. Anderson provides an incredibly rich narrative of the interactions of city dwellers from different segregated neighborhoods—ghettos, ethnic enclaves, and suburbs—in public places. By revealing hidden social and racial dynamics, Anderson not only explains the conditions that ...

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The Cosmopolitan Canopy: Race and Civility in Everyday Life

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Overview

Praise for The Cosmopolitan Canopy

The Cosmopolitan Canopy is vintage Elijah Anderson—original, creative, engaging, and thought provoking. Once I began reading this brilliant book I could not put it down. Anderson provides an incredibly rich narrative of the interactions of city dwellers from different segregated neighborhoods—ghettos, ethnic enclaves, and suburbs—in public places. By revealing hidden social and racial dynamics, Anderson not only explains the conditions that ease racial tensions and promote interracial harmony, but those that reinforce traditional racial boundaries as well. This book is a must read.”—William Julius Wilson, Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor. Harvard University

“Elijah Anderson is a master ethnographer. Field research is a way of life for him, a medium through which unceasingly, over the course of many years, he has courageously explored the innermost recesses of life in an American city, especially the social worlds and the experiences of Black Americans. Once again, in The Cosmopolitan Canopy, he moves from one area of Philadelphia to another, exploring the patterns of social interaction and behavior in various public places. Anderson calls these urban spaces ‘cosmopolitan canopies’ – a concept likely to evoke lively, illuminating discussion.”—Renée C. Fox, Annenberg Professor Emerita of the Social Sciences, University of Pennsylvania

“This is the most important book on race relations in many years. Elijah Anderson takes us behind the statistics into the scenes of everyday life. We witness front-stage performances of integration and back-stage racial ethnocentrism, as well as the venues where interracial cosmopolitan civility is constructed. Updating E. Franklin Frazier’s classic Black Bourgeoisie, The Cosmopolitan Canopy offers a gift for our pessimistic times: a book of realistic optimism.”—Randall Collins, President of the American Sociological Association

The Cosmopolitan Canopy is a richly detailed account of how the public spaces we all share can either separate or help bring us together. I strongly recommend it.”—Marian Wright Edelman, President, Children’s Defense Fund

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Yale sociology professor Anderson (Code of the Street) takes the reader on an ethnographic walking tour of Philadelphia to observe how city dwellers interact across racial lines. He attends particularly to the "cosmopolitan canopy"—public settings like parks, malls, town squares that maintain civil and comfortable interactions between diverse populations. Anderson moves then to those areas where the canopy breaks down (the workplace, public transportation). Anderson's nuanced treatment of "the social dynamics of racial inequality" and his precise observations (the politics of eye contact, for example), while rooted in scholarship, are uncommonly readable: snippets from his journals and sketches of neighborhood habitués offer immediate pleasure, and the book is a people watcher's delight. And while Anderson doesn't gloss over how prevalent and pernicious racism remains in America—"There comes a time in the life of every African American, regardless of how high he or she has risen in society, when he or she is reminded of his or her place as a black man or woman"—his study allows a cautious optimism that "the canopy offers a taste of how inclusive and civil social relationships could become." (Mar.)
Marian Wright Edelman
“The Cosmopolitan Canopy is a richly detailed account of how the public spaces we all share can either separate or help bring us together. I strongly recommend it.”
Renee C. Fox
“Elijah Anderson is a master ethnographer. Field research is a way of life for him, a medium through which unceasingly, over the course of many years, he has courageously explored the innermost recesses of life in an American city, especially the social worlds and the experiences of Black Americans. Once again, in The Cosmopolitan Canopy, he moves from one area of Philadelphia to another, exploring the patterns of social interaction and behavior in various public places. Anderson calls these urban spaces ‘cosmopolitan canopies’ – a concept likely to evoke lively, illuminating discussion.”
Booklist
“Fascinating sociology and people-watching at its profound best.”
William Julius Wilson
“Vintage Elijah Anderson—original, creative, engaging, and thought-provoking . . . . This book is a must-read.”
Randall Collins
“The most important book on race relations in many years.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393071634
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/28/2011
  • Pages: 318
  • Sales rank: 873,847
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Elijah Anderson is the William K. Lanman, Jr. Professor of Sociology at Yale University.
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2012

    Good for a college class.

    Well written observation

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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