Both in television shows such as The Rockford Files and The Sopranos and in the fiction of writers such as John Updike, Richard Ford, and Douglas Coupland, popular culture draws a distinction between Atlantic Coast and Pacific Coast suburbs. The differences revolve around two themes. The first concerns the roles of place and space. The second is the varying weight of history, often as manifested through families and social ties. Eastern suburbs and suburbanites are commonly depicted as embedded in place, rooted in time, and entangled in social networks. Western suburbs and suburbanites are often imagined as the opposite—isolated in space, atemporal, and free (or bereft) of social bonds.
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Research Article| February 01 2014
Jim Rockford or Tony Soprano: Coastal Contrasts in American Suburbia
The author taught urban history and planning in the Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University. This was his presidential address at the annual meeting of the Pacific Coast Branch, American Historical Association, in Denver, Colorado, on August 10, 2013.
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Pacific Historical Review (2014) 83 (1): 1–23.
Carl Abbott; Jim Rockford or Tony Soprano: Coastal Contrasts in American Suburbia. Pacific Historical Review 1 February 2014; 83 (1): 1–23. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/phr.2014.83.1.1
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