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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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(p.361) Afterword
Small-Town America

Robert Wuthnow

Princeton University Press

This afterword argues that small towns are not characteristic of what the United States is really like. Small towns are instead what many people think the United States should be like, and indeed, what they would like it to be. Small towns are neighborly and impose high expectations on residents to be involved in the community. There is also no reason to believe that small towns are morally superior to metropolitan areas, or the reverse. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. One promotes neighborliness that sometimes becomes stifling, while the other provides opportunities that sometimes become overwhelming. The chapter suggests that small towns, even though they are changing, have a viable future, describing them as places in which the slow pace and small scale of the past is preserved. They are also communities in which leadership and innovative ideas are poised expectantly toward the future.

Keywords:   small towns, community, metropolitan areas, neighborliness, slow pace, leadership

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