announcement for "'Lifestyle', Community and Place" conference session

Please join me this Sunday, 8:30 am, at the annual American Sociological Association meetings in Denver, where I’ll be the discussant on a section that should excite anyone interested in urban cultural analysis.  Co-organized by Amin Ghaziani and myself, the session is entitled “Lifestyle,” Community and Place.  The scare quotes around “lifestyle” are a little pretentious, but as you’ll see, we wanted to problematize the usual meanings of this recent urban trope with a selection of top-notch empirical papers.

The location for this session is still TBA; by tomorrow, you should be able to find its location on the online program of the ASA meetings. Here are the description (from the original call for papers) and paper titles/presenters for the session.

Section on Community and Urban Sociology Paper Session: “Lifestyle,” Community and Place.

Session Organizers: Amin Ghaziani (University of British Columbia) and Leonard Nevarez (Vassar College).

Scheduled Time: Sun, Aug 19 – 8:30am – 10:10am


This session examines how “lifestyle groups” (broadly conceived) trouble or re-signify simple notions of the “yuppie” or the “creative class” as a force for inciting migration, enclave formation, and urban change. How are such processes affected by new formations of demographic lines (age, class, race/ethnicity, household type, sexuality), achieved statues (occupation, leisure activities, commuting opportunities, etc.), and geographical origin (international investors, immigrants, etc.)? We especially seek papers that consider such issues as:

1) Culture and Values: how do cultural pursuits (religion, transnational ethnic community, outdoor communion, arts and music, food and agriculture, intentional communities) affect real estate demand in lifestyle enclaves? Do popular interests in “quality of life,” “authentic” places, voluntary simplicity, and ecological sustainability challenge the modes of amenity and service consumption traditionally associated with gentrification?

2) Conflict and Inequality: how has gentrification affected lifestyle enclaves in urban, suburban, or rural contexts? What is the relationship between conflict (e.g., inter-cultural, economic, old timers vs. newcomers, etc.) and urban change? What is the relationship between urban change and social inequality?

3) Life Course and Space: how are urban enclaves transformed physically and symbolically as residents postpone/defer childbirth, build families outside of traditional heterosexual parenting norms, or extend the income-earning years of the “empty nest” life-stage? Are there differential effects based on home-ownership versus renting?

4) Sexuality and Space: urban sociologists have historically emphasized the racial or ethnically-inflected nature of spatial settlements at the comparative neglect of sexuality. Are there distinct patterns in lesbian and gay migrations, residential decision-making, and urban forms?

Presider: Amin Ghaziani (University of British Columbia)

1. Deconcentration of Urban Gay Enclaves: Evidence from the 2000 and 2010 U.S. Censuses. Amy L. Spring (University of Washington).

2. Gentrification Goes to School: A Three-city Examination of Middle Class Investment in Urban Public Schools. Linn Posey-Maddox (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Shelley McDonough Kimelberg (Northeastern University), Maia B. Cucchiara (Temple University).

3. The Self-Conscious Gentrifier: The Paradox of Authenticity and Impact among “First-Wave Neo-Bohemians” in 2 Changing Neighborhoods. Naomi Bartz (University of Chicago), Gordon C.C. Douglas (University of Chicago).

4. This is Utopia: Greening the Black Urban Regime. Alesia Montgomery (Michigan State University).

Discussant: Leonard Nevarez (Vassar College).