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Don't Blame UsSuburban Liberals and the Transformation of the Democratic Party$
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Lily Geismer

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691157238

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691157238.001.0001

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No Ordinary Suburbs

No Ordinary Suburbs

(p.19) 1 No Ordinary Suburbs
Don't Blame Us

Lily Geismer

Princeton University Press

This chapter shows how structural processes, policies, and national trends intersected with the particular history, geography, and reputation of the Boston area to produce the set of juxtapositions—between history and progress, tradition and technology, open-mindedness and exclusivity, meritocracy and equality—that characterized the physical landscape and political culture of the Route 128 suburbs and the political ideology of many of their residents. It reveals that homeowners' view of themselves in rural Lincoln and cosmopolitan Newton fueled grassroots activism on a range of liberal issues. This sense of individual and collective distinctiveness simultaneously made many residents see themselves as separate from, and not responsible for, many of the consequences of suburban growth and the forms of inequality and segregation that suburban development fortified.

Keywords:   Route 128, political culture, grassroots activism, individual distinctiveness, collective distinctiveness, suburban development, liberal issues, political ideology

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