Cover: Neighborhood Politics, from Harvard University PressCover: Neighborhood Politics in E-DITION

Neighborhood Politics

Product Details


$65.00 • £54.95 • €60.00

ISBN 9780674188112

Publication Date: 09/26/1983

328 pages



Available from De Gruyter »

Media Requests:

Related Subjects

Harvard University Press has partnered with De Gruyter to make available for sale worldwide virtually all in-copyright HUP books that had become unavailable since their original publication. The 2,800 titles in the “e-ditions” program can be purchased individually as PDF eBooks or as hardcover reprint (“print-on-demand”) editions via the “Available from De Gruyter” link above. They are also available to institutions in ten separate subject-area packages that reflect the entire spectrum of the Press’s catalog. More about the E-ditions Program »

What makes an urban neighborhood tick? Why do some of a city’s poorest neighborhoods have cleaner streets and less vandalism than many of its more affluent areas? The public services that make certain neighborhoods stand out are often provided by the local residents themselves—but what makes them take action?

The setting for Matthew Crenson’s book is Baltimore. In this surprising, powerful work, he finds that such neighborhood action does not arise from a strong sense of neighborliness or community feeling. Instead, it is precisely when neighbors dislike one another that some features of informal self-organization emerge. Residents’ efforts to maintain public order, health, and safety frequently spring from social chaos and discord rather than from homogeneity. In fact, Crenson discovers that in many cases community polities arise not from the cohesiveness of close-knit “urban villages” but from the social diversity, inequality, and conflict that are associated with urbanism itself.

In an era when the inability of government institutions to solve the difficulties of city living is starkly apparent, understanding unofficial neighborhood government is critically important, and it can also clarify the foundations of political order itself. Crenson’s achievement is to redefine neighborhood problem-solving as the true “grass roots” urban politics, and in doing so he reveals why Baltimore is one of the few big cities that really work in America today.

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

The Burnout Challenge

On Burnout Today with Christina Maslach and Michael P. Leiter

In The Burnout Challenge, leading researchers of burnout Christina Maslach and Michael P. Leiter focus on what occurs when the conditions and requirements set by a workplace are out of sync with the needs of people who work there. These “mismatches,” ranging from work overload to value conflicts, cause both workers and workplaces to suffer