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How Places Make UsNovel LBQ Identities in Four Small Cities$
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Japonica Brown-Saracino

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226361116

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226361390.001.0001

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Greenfield: Lesbian Feminist Longtimers and Post-Identity-Politics Newcomers

Greenfield: Lesbian Feminist Longtimers and Post-Identity-Politics Newcomers

(p.153) Four Greenfield: Lesbian Feminist Longtimers and Post-Identity-Politics Newcomers
How Places Make Us

Japonica Brown-Saracino

University of Chicago Press

Greenfield is home to more than one sexual identity culture, and to more than one approach to social ties. Longtime LBQ residents articulate a lesbian feminist identity politics and cultivate lesbian community within and beyond Greenfield. In contrast, newer arrivals (the bulk of those I encountered in the field) articulate post-identity politics and “ambient community” or a general sense of belonging forged around shared place, beliefs, politics, and practices. Why does the period in which a migrant arrived in Greenfield matter for how she conceives of her identity and develops her ties? New residents encounter a city that casts itself as a desirable destination and an LBQ haven in its own right—a far cry from the (relatively speaking) inhospitable cousin to Northampton that earlier migrants met— and they articulate a corresponding post-identity politics and describe a growing sense of ambient community. An earlier migration generation met a different and less hospitable Greenfield, one that called out a lesbian-feminist identity politics. As Greenfield has changed, the identities and ties of its residents have also changed. That shift reminds that city “character” is not static; residents describe a dynamic city, and orient identity and ties in relation to changing city ecology.

Keywords:   city ecology, place, identity, identity politics, ambient community, migration, community, lesbian, queer, cohorts

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