Citizenship and Governance in a Changing City

Somerville, MA

Susan Ostrander
Book Cover

PB: $29.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1013-9
Publication: Mar 13

HC: $81.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-1012-2
Publication: Mar 13

Ebook: $29.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1014-6

190 pages
6 x 9
3 figs., 5 maps

How community influences contribute to civic and political engagement in a city undergoing rapid change


Overcoming a past of deteriorating homes, empty storefronts, and corrupt city administrations, Somerville, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston, today proudly defines itself as a longtime immigrant city, a historically blue collar town, and a hip new urban center with a progressive city government.

In Citizenship and Governance in a Changing City, Susan Ostrander shows how beneath current high levels of engagement by Somerville residents lies a struggle about who should be the city's elected leaders and how they should conduct the city's affairs. It is a struggle waged between diverse residents—relatively new immigrants and a new middle class—trying to gain a foothold in democratic participation, and the city's political "old guard."

Citizenship and Governance in a Changing City informs current debates about the place of immigrants in civic and political life, and the role of voluntary associations in local politics and government. In the process, Ostrander provides useful lessons for many midsize urban communities.

Table of Contents


1 Introduction
2 Overview of History, Demographics, and Politics
3 Major Redevelopment, Community Involvement, and Shared Governance
4 Old and New Immigrant Experiences, Today and Yesterday
5 Immigrant Civic and Political Engagement
6 Gentrification, Resident Displacement, and a Common Vision for the City’s Future
7 Extending Social Citizenship, Remaking City Governance


About the Author(s)

Susan A. Ostrander is a Professor and Chair of Sociology working within the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship & Public Service at Tufts University. She is author of Money for Change: Social Movement Philanthropy at Haymarket People's Fund and Women of the Upper Class (both Temple).