In this Book

summary
Starting with the premise that suburban films, residential neighborhoods, chain restaurants, malls, and megachurches are compelling forms (topos) that shape and materialize the everyday lives of residents and visitors, Greg Dickinson’s Suburban Dreams offers a rhetorically attuned critical analysis of contemporary American suburbs and the “good life” their residents pursue.
 
Dickinson’s analysis suggests that the good life is rooted in memory and locality, both of which are foundations for creating a sense of safety central to the success of suburbs. His argument is situated first in a discussion of the intersections among buildings, cities, and the good life and the challenges to these relationships wrought by the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The argument then turns to rich, fully-embodied analyses of suburban films and a series of archetypal suburban landscapes to explore how memory, locality, and safety interact in constructing the suburban imaginary. Moving from the pastoralism of residential neighborhoods and chain restaurants like Olive Garden and Macaroni Grill, through the megachurch’s veneration of suburban malls to the mixed-use lifestyle center’s nostalgic invocation of urban downtowns, Dickinson complicates traditional understandings of the ways suburbs situate residents and visitors in time and place.
 
The analysis suggests that the suburban good life is devoted to family. Framed by the discourses of consumer culture, the suburbs often privilege walls and roots to an expansive vision of worldliness. At the same time, developments such as farmers markets suggest a continued striving by suburbanites to form relationships in a richer, more organic fashion.
 
Dickinson’s work eschews casually dismissive attitudes toward the suburbs and the pursuit of the good life. Rather, he succeeds in showing how by identifying the positive rhetorical resources the suburbs supply, it is in fact possible to engage with the suburbs intentionally, thoughtfully, and rigorously. Beyond an analysis of the suburban imaginary, Suburban Dreams demonstrates how a critical engagement with everyday places can enrich daily life. The book provides much of interest to students and scholars of rhetoric, communication studies, public memory, American studies, architecture, and urban planning.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. restricted access Download |
  1. Title page, Editorial series, Copyright, Dedication
  2. restricted access Download |
  1. Contents
  2. restricted access Download |
  1. List of Illustrations
  2. p. ix
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xi-xiii
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Introduction: Rhetorical Constructions of the Good Life
  2. pp. 1-14
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. I. Imaging the Suburban Good Life
  2. pp. 15-16
  1. 1. Everyday Practices, Rhetoric, and the Suburban Good Life
  2. pp. 17-38
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 2. Imaging the Good Life: Visual Images of the Suburban Good Life
  2. pp. 39-62
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. II. Home and Kitchen: Building Safe and Authentic Space
  2. pp. 63-64
  1. 3. Housing the Good Life: Residential Architecture and Neighborhoods
  2. pp. 65-96
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 4. Eating the Good Life: Authenticity, Exoticism, and Rhetoric’s Embodied Materiality in the Italian-Themed Suburban Restaurant
  2. pp. 97-122
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. III. Consuming Suburbs: Building Sacred and Civic Space
  2. pp. 123-124
  1. 5. Worshipping the Good Life: Megachurches and the Making of the Suburban Moral Landscape
  2. pp. 125-153
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 6. Buying the Good Life: How the Lifestyle Center Became Suburbia’s Civic Square
  2. Megan Beam, Greg Dickinson
  3. pp. 154-181
  4. restricted access Download |
  1. Conclusion: Remembering and Rethinking Suburbs
  2. pp. 182-194
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Notes
  2. pp. 195-230
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 231-244
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Index
  2. pp. 245-250
  3. restricted access Download |

Additional Information

ISBN
9780817388119
Related ISBN
9780817318635
MARC Record
OCLC
908389148
Pages
264
Launched on MUSE
2015-05-05
Language
English
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.