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nenepacess.tk: Roberts S. Lynd. nenepacess.tk: Helen Merrell Lynd. nenepacess.tkioned: TZ.
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Middletown : a study in American culture

The Lynds and their assistants used the "approach of the cultural anthropologist", existing documents, census and business statistics, interviews, and surveys to accomplish this task. The stated goal of the study was describe this small urban center as a unit which consists of "interwoven trends of behavior" p. Or put in more detail,. The book is written in an apparently descriptive tone, treating the citizens of Middletown in much the same way as an anthropologist from an industrialized nation might describe a non-industrial culture. This gave a witty tone, and made big city readers feel superior to the folks who lived in the town, which added to sales.

Following anthropologist W. Rivers' classic Social Organization the study proceeded "under the assumption that all the things people do in this American city may be viewed as falling under one or another of the following six main-trunk activities:.

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Overall, Middletown was described like many other American cities of the period as a farming community that, due to technological changes, became a factory town. The study aimed to examine the consequences of this change.

In the s the Lynds found a "division into the working class and business class that constitutes the outstanding cleavage in Middletown. The study found that at least 70 percent of the population belonged to the working class. However, labor unions had been driven out of town because the city's elite saw them as anti-capitalist. Because of this, unemployment was seen among residents as an individual, not a social, problem. The city government was run by the "business class," a conservative group of individuals in high-income professions.

For example, this group threw its support behind Calvin Coolidge 's administration. Describing family life is a main theme of the book. Because of new innovations such as 15 year mortgages, even working-class families were able to own their own homes. Home ownership became the mark of a "respectable" stable family.

Compared to the s, family sizes were smaller, and divorce rates were higher. Most wives worked as housewives and parentage was seen as a "moral obligation" of all couples. Around age of six, the socialization of children was partly assumed by the public schools. A new trend was "dating" between two teenagers, as opposed to group activities.

Families did not spend as much time together as before. Chain grocery stores, refrigerators, and electric washing machines eliminated obsolete skills such as handling freshly slaughtered meat. High school in the s was the new hub of adolescent social life. Pre-college courses like foreign languages have given way to vocational education, preparing youth for jobs in business and as housewives. High schools were the pride of Middletown; very few had attended in the s. Middletowners usually praise practical education, and sometimes disdain academic learning.

Cultural Conflicts Continue in the Kitchen

Teachers are tolerated but not welcomed into the civic life and governance of the city. New technology has created more leisure time for all people, most of this new time is passed in "passive" or nonconstructive recreation. The radio and automobile revolutionized leisure activities, beginning about Listening to radio shows and taking drives are now the most popular leisure activities. Many working-class families formerly never traveled more than a few miles from town; with the automobile, they are able to take vacations across the region and visit far-flung relatives.

Sharp declines have occurred in as book discussion groups and reading in general , public lectures, and the fine arts.

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Movies have created another "passive leisure activity". The most popular films feature big stars and deal in adventure and romance; more serious topics are less popular. About two-thirds of Middletown families now own cars. Owning a car, and the prestige it brings, is considered so important that some working-class families are willing to bypass necessities such as food and clothing to keep up with payments. A person's car indicates their social status, and the most "popular" teens own cars, much to the chagrin of local community leaders one local preacher referred to the automobile as a "house of prostitution on wheels".

Overall, due to this new technology, community and family ties are breaking down. Friendship between neighbors and church attendance are down. Enabling JavaScript in your browser will allow you to experience all the features of our site. Learn how to enable JavaScript on your browser. This sequel to Middletown returns to the same community in , to examine the changes brought about by the prosperity of the late s and the subsequent Depression.


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Preface by Robert S. Lynd; Index.

Middletown in Transition: A Study in Cultural Conflicts by Robert S. Lynd

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Overview This sequel to Middletown returns to the same community in , to examine the changes brought about by the prosperity of the late s and the subsequent Depression. Product Details. Average Review. Write a Review. Related Searches.