Japonica Brown-Saracino

Associate Professor of Sociology, College of Arts & Sciences

Japonica Brown-Saracino is an ethnographer who specializes in urban and community sociology, cultural sociology, and the study of race, ethnicity, and sexuality.  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, which she is currently writing, is under advance contract with the University of Chicago Press Fieldwork Encounters and Discoveries Series, and an article from the study, “From the Lesbian Ghetto to Ambient Community: The Perceived Costs and Benefits of Integration for Community,” appeared in the August, 2011 issue of Social Problems.  Brown-Saracino has served as secretary/treasurer of the Community and Urban Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association, and currently is co-book review editor for City & Community.