Japonica Brown-Saracino

Japonica Brown-Saracino

Japonica Brown-Saracino

Associate Professor of Sociology

PhD Northwestern University (2006)

Sociology Room 249

617.358.6675 | japonica@bu.edu


Japonica Brown-Saracino is an ethnographer who specializes in urban and community sociology, cultural sociology, and the study of race, ethnicity, and sexualities.  In 2004, City and Community published her article, “Social Preservationists and the Quest for Authentic Community,” which draws on her study of four gentrifying communities (two small New England towns and two Chicago neighborhoods) and introduces her concept of “social preservation”.  She further explores social preservation and gentrification in her book, A Neighborhood That Never Changes: Gentrification, Social Preservation, and the Search for Authenticity (The Fieldwork Encounters and Discoveries Series of the University of Chicago Press, 2009), which received the 2010 – 2011 Urban Affairs Association Best Book Award.  In 2010 Routledge’s Metropolis and Modern Life Series published a second book, The Gentrification Debates, which is composed of excerpts from defining book chapters and articles on gentrification published over the last forty-five years.  Brown-Saracino frames the collection with original essays on four key areas of debate within the gentrification literature.  With co-authors Brown-Saracino has written on the practice of ethnography, newspaper coverage of gentrification, and on social movements, sexuality, and culture.

She is currently completing a comparative ethnography of four small U.S. cities with growing or emerging populations of lesbian, bisexual, and queer women. Her book on the project is forthcoming with the University of Chicago Press Fieldwork Encounters and Discoveries Series, and articles from the project have appeared in Social Problems (2011), Qualitative Sociology (2014) and American Journal of Sociology (2015). Her 2015 AJS article received the 2016 Jane Addams Award for best article from the Community and Urban Section of the American Sociological Association.

Brown-Saracino is Vice-President of the Eastern Sociological Society.  She has also served as secretary/treasurer of the Community and Urban Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association, and as co-book review editor for City & Community.  She serves on the Boston University Initiative on Cities’ advisory board, as a consulting editor for the American Journal of Sociology, and is a member of the Contemporary Sociology editorial board.


Brown-Saracino, J. 2016.  “An Agenda for the Next Decade of Gentrification Scholarship,” City & Community 15 (3): 220 – 225.

Brown-Saracino, J. 2016.  “Preserving Social Character and Navigating Preservation Divides,” in Bending the Future: Fifty Ideas for the Next Fifty Years of Historic Preservation in the United States, Page, M & Miller, M. editors.  Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press.

Brown-Saracino, Japonica.  2015.  “How Places Shape Identity: The Origins of Distinctive LBQ Identities in Four Small U.S. Cities,” American Journal of Sociology, V. 121, N. 1: 1 – 66.

Kuras, E., Hondula, D., & Brown-Saracino, J.  2015.  “Heterogeneity in individually experienced temperatures (IETs) within an urban neighborhood: insights from a new approach to measuring heat exposure,International Journal of Biometeorology.

Brown-Saracino, J.  2014.  “From Methodological Stumbles to Substantive Insights: Gaining Ethnographic Access in Queer Communities,”Qualitative Sociology, March 2014, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 43-68

Brown-Saracino, J.  2013.  “Gentrification,Oxford Bibliographies, Manza, J. ed.

Brown-Saracino, Japonica.  2011.  “From the Lesbian Ghetto to Ambient Community: The Perceived Costs and Benefits of Integration for Social Ties,” Social Problems, V. 58, N.3, August 2011: 361 – 388.

Brown-Saracino, Japonica & Rumpf, Cesraea.  2011.  “Diverse Imageries of Gentrification: Evidence from Newspaper Coverage in Major U.S. Cities, 1986 – 2006, Journal of Urban Affairs, V. 33, I. 3: 289 – 315.

2010. Brown-Saracino, Japonica, editor. The Gentrification Debates. New York: Routledge.

2009.  A Neighborhood That Never Changes: Gentrification, Social Preservation, and the Search for Authenticity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

2009.  “LGBTI in Community and Urban Sociology: New Directions for our Subfield,” Community and Urban Sociology Newsletter, Fall/Winter 2008/2009.

2008. Brown-Saracino, Japonica, Fine, Gary Alan & Thurk, Jessica.    “Beyond Groups: Seven Pillars of Peopled Ethnography in Communities and Organizations,” Qualitative Research, V. 8, N. 5: 547-567.

2007.   “Virtuous Marginality: Social Preservationists and the Selection of the Old-timer,” Theory and Society, V. 36, N. 5: 437 – 468.