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Small-Town AmericaFinding Community, Shaping the Future$
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Robert Wuthnow

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691157207

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691157207.001.0001

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You Have to Deal with Everybody

You Have to Deal with Everybody

The Inhabitants of Small Towns

(p.17) 2 You Have to Deal with Everybody
Small-Town America

Robert Wuthnow

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the marks of distinction that residents use to describe social strata in their communities as well as the local expectations that blur these distinctions. To understand how people in small towns view their communities, and how their communities shape their behaviors and attitudes, a good start is to look at the people themselves. Doing so reveals an interesting irony. The millions of people in the United States who live in small towns are quite diverse. They vary in background, race, age, family style, sexual orientation, education level, occupation, and income. At the same time, townspeople argue that they are not so different from one another. They see their fellow residents as similar to themselves: profoundly democratic, neighborly, and basically equal. The chapter considers the socioeconomic status of small-town residents as well as various categories of residents, namely: gentry, service class, wageworkers, and pensioners.

Keywords:   social strata, small towns, townspeople, socioeconomic status, gentry, service class, wageworkers, pensioners

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