ScenescapesHow Qualities of Place Shape Social Life

ScenescapesHow Qualities of Place Shape Social Life

Daniel Aaron Silver and Terry Nichols Clark

Print publication date: 2017

ISBN: 9780226356853

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


Cities and neighborhoods are production sites, residential habitats, and political arenas; they are also scenes of expression and meaning. Profound global and historical transformations set the stage for new processes. Scenescapes examines patterns and consequences of the various styles of life embedded in the amenities that define the character of our streets and strips. The book articulates core dimensions of meaning supported by local scenes, such as theatricality, authenticity, and legitimacy, and uses inter-national data on hundreds of local amenities – cafes, churches, restaurants, parks, galleries, bowling alleys, and more—to measure specific aspects of these dimensions, such as glamorous theatricality, traditional legitimacy, and local authenticity. Scenes not only reimagines cities in cultural terms; it demonstrates the impacts scenes have on economic development, residential patterns, and political attitudes and actions. Scenes feed into production, add meaning and drama to neighborhoods, and are focal points for political action and organization. They can also be targets for policy. Scenescapes suggests how to add scenic ideas to social science theories and the policy-makers toolkit.