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Everything In Its Place

Everything In Its Place: Social Order and Land Use in America

Copyright Date: 1977
Pages: 312
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  • Book Info
    Everything In Its Place
    Book Description:

    Interviews with bankers, civic leaders, politicians, and architects provide the basis for this searching analysis of the ways in which the physical arrangement of land expresses American ideals, assumptions, and beliefs.

    Originally published in 1980.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5423-3
    Subjects: Environmental Science, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-2)
  5. Chapter One —All’s Right with the World? Land Use in American Society
    (pp. 3-31)

    What have been thought of as singularly technical concerns in land-use matters I take to be value-laden, that is, moral. American land-use classifications, definitions, and standards—alongside all their concrete tasks—name cultural and social categories and define what are believed to be the correct relationships among them. Why are some kinds of land-use relationships regularly prohibited? Why do zoning districts contain the specifics they do? Why do changes in land-use categories meet with widespread resistance, and on whose part? What implications are there for the way society is and should be organized in the definitions used to estimate how...

  6. Chapter Two The Ladder of Life: From Renter to Owner
    (pp. 32-80)

    In American society the form of tenure—whether a household owns or rents its place of residence—is read as a primary social sign, used in categorizing and evaluating people, in much the same way that race, income, occupation, and education are. There are, of course, people who actually own and people who actually rent, and there are likely to be as many differences as similarities within each group. But besides those social realities, there are also meanings attached to each, axioms circulating in the general currency of social exchange. The categories of owner and renter are, then, real and...

  7. Chapter Three Domestic Tranquillity: The Sociology of Sprawl and Transition
    (pp. 81-128)

    In asking why the categories of renter and owner are culturally defined as they are, I have been pointing totransitionas a major source of the distinction. I next address its meanings as imposed on other social categories similarly carved out of the juxtaposition of ideology and social practice. The American dream of hard work inevitably rewarded is idealized in a singular scenario for ascending the ladder of achievement, definitive movement from one social category and its status to the next, upward. These many transitions to the ideal are substantiated in both housing and neighborhoods; arrival is manifested in...

  8. Chapter Four Many Wagons, Many Stars: The Uses of Land, Zoning, and Houses
    (pp. 129-162)

    The sanctity of family love is signalled by its home, and the profanity of trafficking in money by a place of work far distant. The texts tell another story, however, for America’s most widespread cottage industry is the house itself as small business, the household’s credit rating providing for each generation’s economic wellbeing, the location for the children’s public education, and its eventual resale and profit-taking for the parents’ future. Not being a “nation of shopkeepers,” America is one of homeowners, busily investing in plant maintenance and expansion with both money and time, keeping the product attractive for use and...

  9. Chapter Five A Place for Everyone: Negotiating Social Space and Social Order
    (pp. 163-209)

    Throughout I have been drawing attention to the contradictions between ideals and practices manifested in today’s metropolitan areas, taking a tack quite the opposite of others dominating social science research and public policy analysis. Those will often pose an ideal distribution of powers among each level of government, or diagram a correct hierarchy of decision-making, or model some inevitable set of utilities, and then evaluate current practice in light of those theoretical—ideal as well as normative—representations. Whatever deviates is termed a “public problem.”

    But these “imperfections”—the economist’s term for conditions not fitting models of ideal market behavior...

  10. Chapter Six Principles of Social Order
    (pp. 210-218)

    Some of the principles from which American social order is generated have been the subject of this book. Principles of social order, the central concern of anthropology, can be many things to many people. In literate society, awareness of them can itself lead to their choice and their change by rearranging those features of social and economic systems reinforcing and sustaining them. I have tried to re-frame certain long-standing questions in the American system of land use in such a way that our responses might become more effective and lasting. These are not answers, but some new terms—a vocabulary...

    (pp. 219-250)
  12. TABLES
    (pp. 251-260)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 261-280)
  14. Index
    (pp. 281-291)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 292-292)