This book examines why many Americans choose to live in small towns—and what it means to do so. Drawing on in-depth semistructured qualitative interviews with more than 700 people currently living in small towns scattered among forty-three states—from community leaders to ordinary residents—the book offers an exceptionally rich sense of what it is like to live in a small town and the various ways in which residents find community in these places. The interviews reveal the diversity of social strata of which small communities are composed, as well as how residents of small towns construct the meaning of their community in ways that reinforce loyalty to it and one another. The book also explores the meanings of community spirit in small towns, social and political issues such as abortion and homosexuality, and the roles played in small towns by religious congregations.
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