Monthly Archives: August 2020

New Books By Section Members

Digital Nomads: In Search of Freedom, Community, and Meaningful Work in the New Economy by Rachael A. Woldoff and Robert C. Litchfield

A small but growing group of today’s knowledge workers actively seek a lifestyle of freedom, using technology to perform their jobs, traveling far and wide, and moving as often as they like. These digital nomads have left their local coffee shops behind and now proudly post their “office of the day” photos from exotic locales, but what do their lives really look like?

In Digital Nomads, Rachael Woldoff and Robert Litchfield take readers into an expatriate digital nomad community in Bali, Indonesia to better understand this growing demographic of typically Millennial workers. Through dozens of interviews and several stints living in a digital nomad hub, Woldoff and Litchfield present new answers to classic questions about community, creativity, and work. They further show why digital nomads leave their conventional lives behind, arguing that creative class and Millennial workers, though successful, often feel that their “world class cities” and desirable jobs are anything but paradise. They first follow their transitions into freelancing, entrepreneurship, and remote work, then explain how digital nomads create a fluid but intimate community abroad in the company of like-minded others. Ultimately, Woldoff and Litchfield provide insight into digital nomads’ efforts to live and work in ways that balance freedom, community, and creative fulfillment in the digital age.

A sympathetic yet critical take on this emerging group of workers, Digital Nomads provides a revealing take on the changing nature of work and the problems of the new economy.

Chasing World-Class Urbanism: Global Policy versus Everyday Survival in Buenos Aires by Jacob Lederman

What makes some cities world class? Increasingly, that designation reflects the use of a toolkit of urban planning practices and policies that circulates around the globe. These strategies—establishing creative districts dedicated to technology and design, “greening” the streets, reinventing historic districts as tourist draws—were deployed to build a globally competitive Buenos Aires after its devastating 2001 economic crisis. In this richly drawn account, Jacob Lederman explores what those efforts teach us about fast-evolving changes in city planning practices and why so many local officials chase a nearly identical vision of world-class urbanism.

Lederman explores the influence of Northern nongovernmental organizations and multilateral agencies on a prominent city of the global South. Using empirical data, keen observations, and interviews with people ranging from urban planners to street vendors he explores how transnational best practices actually affect the lives of city dwellers. His research also documents the forms of resistance enacted by everyday residents and the tendency of local institutions and social relations to undermine the top-down plans of officials. Most important, Lederman highlights the paradoxes of world-class urbanism: for instance, while the priorities identified by international agencies are expressed through nonmarket values such as sustainability, inclusion, and livability, local officials often use market-centric solutions to pursue them. Further, despite the progressive rhetoric used to describe urban planning goals, in most cases their result has been greater social, economic, and geographic stratification.

Chasing World-Class Urbanism is a much-needed guide to the intersections of culture, ideology, and the realities of twenty-first-century life in a major Latin American city, one that illuminates the tension between technocratic aspirations and lived experience.

New City & Community Editor

Dear CUSS Membership,

I’m writing to deliver an important announcement.

I’m pleased to announce that our section’s journal, City & Community (C&C), has a new editor-in-chief: Richard E. Ocejo. Richard’s vision is to build upon the journal’s strong foundation and broaden its influence within the discipline of sociology and the field of urban studies. In the coming years, C&C readers and authors can expect a lot of continuity from Deirdre Oakley’s outstanding editorship (e.g., an increasingly international focus, quick turnaround on reviews, and publication timeline) as well as some new initiatives. Among Richard’s plans are a revamped, active, and inclusive editorial board, additional website content (like podcast interviews), and a professional development program for young scholars. I’m very excited to see how he advances our journal over the next few years.

I want to thank Richard for taking on this critical CUSS role as well as acknowledge Kirsta Paulsen (chair, CUSS Publications Committee), Japonica Brown-Saracino (past CUSS chair), and the Publications Committee and Council members for their great work in helping to select our new C&C editor. I also want to sincerely thank Deirdre Oakley for her incredible effort as C&C’s editor for the last three years.

As the fall semester gets underway, I hope you manage to remain productive and energized during these difficult times. Our collective work on urban dynamics, race, and social justice is so important right now and I urge you to stay engaged with the academy, CUSS, and your community.

Best,

Derek Hyra

Section Chair

CUSS Digest (August 2020)

CUSS Digest Banner

Dear all,

Please find our August digest below.  Contents include:

  1. Community and Urban Sociology Section Newsletter
  2. Virtual Engagement Event
  3. Faculty Position
  4. New Book Announcement

This is my final digest as the chair of the section. It has been a pleasure and honor to serve the section in this role. I look forward to the great work that incoming chair Derek Hyra and the other section officers, council, and committee members will accomplish in the year ahead.

All the best,

Japonica

Japonica Brown-Saracino
Professor of Sociology & WGS

Boston University
Chair, ASA Community and Urban Sociology Section

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Message from Communications Team

2020 represented a significant change from how CUSS has managed communications to its members. This process began under our past chairs Miriam Greenberg and Rachel Dwyer. We have now shifted our focus away from a traditional PDF newsletter to a combination of email, our website (comurb.org), Facebook, and Twitter (@ComUrbASA). For instance, current chair Japonica Brown-Saracino has been sending out a monthly digest of section updates and announcements via the listserve. This digest is also posted on our Comurb.org and tweeted out by members of our team. While we are relying more on social media to get information out, we will be collecting items from the past year and posting a PDF. That way we can continue to have an archive of traditional newsletters, even as technology continues to evolve. It also continues the great work of Bill Holt, our newsletter letter editor since 2001.

As we move forward, we welcome suggestions as to how we can better serve CUSS members. This includes using the website to highlight the great work – advocacy, scholarship, and teaching – that is done by you all. We would love to post short essays or editorial-style pieces on Comurb.org. If you are interested, pitch us your ideas.

  • Albert Fu <afu@kutztown.edu>
  • Kyle Galindez <kgalinde@ucsc.edu>
  • Lora Phillips <laphillips216@gmail.com>
  • Steven Schmidt <stvnschmidt@gmail.com>

Chair’s Message

Japonica Brown-Saracino
Boston University
Summer 2020, Vol. 33, No. 2

Under ordinary circumstances, many of us would be preparing for travel to San Francisco.  We would be looking forward to gathering together, in person, at our sessions, business meeting, roundtables, and for a reception at the Tenderloin Museum.    I am certain that I am not alone in regretting the missed opportunity to engage with one another at our sessions, as well as to talk more informally in a variety of conference settings – from the book exhibit, to the crowded hallways where we would ordinarily gather between panels.

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