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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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The Frog Pond

The Frog Pond

Making Sense of Work and Money

(p.139) 5 The Frog Pond
Small-Town America

Robert Wuthnow

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the ways in which residents of small towns make sense of their own lives, and especially with respect to work and money. People in small towns know it is unlikely that they will ever become rich living there. Job opportunities, for one, are limited. Many lines of work that might be interesting are simply unavailable. This is particularly true for people seeking employment in the professions or managerial occupations. Nevertheless, the scale of one's community can have a decided effect on the scope of one's aspirations. The influence can be understood as a frog-pond effect. The chapter suggests that small communities create a frog-pond identity that residents draw on to formulate narratives about why they chose to live in a small town, how that choice has limited or enriched their career opportunities, and whether they feel regret or are satisfied. It also considers the impact of agriculture on the lives of small-town residents.

Keywords:   small towns, work, money, employment, frog-pond effect, career opportunities, agriculture

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