Doctoral Dissertation Research: Population Shifts and Suburban Governance

Project: Research project

Project Details


This ethnographic project proposes to analyze the changing nature of American suburbia and of the “New South” by focusing on the case of Sandy Springs, an affluent, historically white and politically conservative suburb of Atlanta that incorporated as an autonomous municipality in 2005, adopting an extremely privatized model of service delivery. By documenting how affluent homeowners, community activists, and impoverished minorities apprehend, negotiate, and challenge Sandy Springs’ four-decade long project of city-building and place-making, this research seeks to uncover new and often conflicting formulations of citizenship, neoliberal governance, community activism, and “color-blind” racism emerging from their power-laden interactions. These processes must be understood in relation to three broader phenomena, namely the suburbanization of poverty and migration in the late 20th and early 21st century U.S.; the increasingly central role of nonprofits and private philanthropy in building a suburban safety net in this neoliberal, post-Recession era; and the recent trend towards municipal fragmentation and privatization that has exacerbated race, class, and place-based inequalities in metro Atlanta.
Effective start/end date8/1/1510/31/17


  • National Science Foundation (BCS-1528569)


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