Tag Archives: News & Notes

Message from New Section Chair

Dear CUSS members, I would like to begin my first Chair’s Message by expressing gratitude to Derek Hyra for his leadership during a difficult year and for assembling teams of people who created successful sessions and meetings at the online version of ASA’s annual meeting. I also want to thank our Secretary Treasurers, Mary J. Fischer and Yuki Kato. Special thanks to Yuki, who is staying on in that role for one more year after stepping in mid-term. They have made our section better and are helping me to transition into the role of Chair.

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Special Issue on Homelessness

The Dynamics of Homelessness: Research and Policy

Edited by Barrett A. Lee, Marybeth Shinn, and Dennis P. Culhane

The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (693; January 2021)

Contrary to popular perceptions of homelessness as static and enduring, this volume of The ANNALS provides a more nuanced view. Its 16 core articles employ innovative research designs and multiple types of over-time data to 1) analyze changes in homeless populations and the people experiencing homelessness; 2) examine factors leading to episodes of homelessness; and 3) evaluate interventions intended to end homelessness and to help individuals and families thrive. Contributors to the volume illuminate the dynamic nature of the phenomenon, both at the micro level (where people enter, pass through, and exit homelessness on different trajectories) and at the macro level (where shifting structural forces and public policies influence the scale of the problem and whom it affects).

Editors Barry Lee, Beth Shinn, and Dennis Culhane have assembled a set of contemporary studies that are informed by diverse disciplinary perspectives and methodological approaches. Taken together, these studies advance social scientific understanding of homelessness while suggesting how the problem might be more effectively addressed. Thus, they should be of interest to policy makers and practitioners as well as scholars.

For additional details about the volume, please see the attached PDF. The volume’s contents can also be downloaded for free by clicking on its title above. This period of open access runs from May 15 through June 30, 2021.

New Books (Summer 2021)

Castañeda, Ernesto. 2021. Building Walls: Excluding Latin People in the United States. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781498585651/Building-Walls-Excluding-Latin-People-in-the-United-States

Gonzales, Teresa Irene. 2021. Building a Better Chicago: Race and Community Resistance to Urban Redevelopment. New York: New York University Press. https://nyupress.org/9781479813568/building-a-better-chicago/

Hondagneu-Sotelo, Pierrette and Manuel Pastor.  2021.  South Central Dreams: Finding Home and Building Community in South L.A. New York: New York University Press. https://nyupress.org/9781479807970/south-central-dreams/

Korver-Glenn, Elizabeth. 2021. Race Brokers: Housing Markets and Segregation in 21st Century Urban America. New York: Oxford University Press. https://global.oup.com/academic/product/race-brokers-9780190063863

Montgomery, Alesia (2020). Greening the Black Urban Regime: The Culture and Commerce of Sustainability in Detroit. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press. https://www.wsupress.wayne.edu/books/detail/greening-black-urban-regime

Stuber, Jenny. 2021. Aspen and the American Dream: How One Town Manages Inequality in the Era of Supergentrification. University of California Press. https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520306608/aspen-and-the-american-dream

Taplin-Kaguru, Nora E. 2021. Grasping for the American Dream: Racial Segregation, Social Mobility, and Homeownership. New York, NY: Routledge.https://www.routledge.com/Grasping-for-the-American-Dream-Racial-Segregation-Social-Mobility-and/Taplin-Kaguru/p/book/9780367075941

Xu, Fang. 2021. Silencing Shanghai: Language and Identity in Urban China. Lanham: Lexington Books.            https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781793635310/Silencing-Shanghai-Language-and-Identity-in-Urban-China

New Books

It’s a Setup: Fathering from the Social and Economic Margins

By Timothy Black and Sky Keyes

The expectation for fathers to be more involved with parenting their children and pitching in at home are higher than ever, yet broad social, political, and economic changes have made it more difficult for low-income men to be fathers. In It’s a Setup, Timothy Black and Sky Keyes ground a moving and intimate narrative in the political and economic circumstances that shape the lives of low-income fathers. Based on 138 life history interviews, they expose the contradiction that while the norms and expectations of father involvement have changed rapidly within a generation, labor force and state support for fathering on the margins has deteriorated. Tracking these life histories, they move us through the lived experiences of job precarity, welfare cuts, punitive child support courts, public housing neglect, and the criminalization of poverty to demonstrate that without transformative systemic change, individual determination is not enough. Fathers on the social and economic margins are setup to fail.

Airbnb, Short-Term Rentals and the Future of Housing

By Lily M. Hoffman, Barbara Schmitter Heisler

How do Airbnb and short-term rentals affect housing and communities? Locating the origins and success of Airbnb in the conditions wrought by the 2008 financial crisis, the authors bring together a diverse body of literature and construct case studies of cities in the US, Australia and Germany to examine the struggles of local authorities to protect their housing and neighborhoods from the increasing professionalization and commercialization of Airbnb.

The book argues that the most disruptive impact of Airbnb and short-term rentals has been on housing and neighborhoods in urban centers where housing markets are stressed. Despite its claims, Airbnb has revealed itself as platform capitalism, incentivizing speculation in residential housing. At the heart of this trajectory is its business model and control over access to data. In a first narrative, the authors discuss how Airbnb has institutionalized short-term rentals, consequently removing long-term rentals, contributing to rising rents and changing neighborhood milieus as visitors replace long-term residents. In a second narrative the authors trace the transformation of short-term rentals into a multibillion-dollar hybrid real estate sector promoting a variety of flexible tenure models. While these models provide more options for owners and investors, they have the potential to undermine housing security and exacerbate housing inequality.

While the overall effects have been similar across countries and cities, depending on housing systems, local response has varied from less restrictive in Australia to increasingly restrictive in the United States and most restrictive in Germany. Although Airbnb has made some concessions, it has not given any city the data needed to efficiently enforce regulations, making for costly externalities. Written in a clear and direct style, this volume will appeal to students and scholars in Urban Studies, Urban Planning, Housing and Tourism Studies.

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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CUSS Digest (June 2020)

CUSS Digest Banner

Dear all,

I am thinking of everyone and looking forward to coming together – virtually – in August with those who are able to participate in the remote ASA conference.  It is a crucial moment for urbanists to be in conversation with one another as our current context brings to light and exacerbates longstanding inequalities and injustice.  Racist state violence, police brutality, and protest suppression are pressing urban concerns that should be central to conversations within our subfield.  I will be in touch in coming weeks about plans for virtual section activities during the conference, and welcome emails (my address is below) from section members about how, as a section, we can elevate these concerns and conversations within and beyond our scholarship and meetings.

Below, you will find our June Digest.  Contents include:

A) Section Election Results

B) Section Award Winners

Best,

Japonica

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