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Faculty Book: Setha Low

Setha Low

Behind the Gates: Life, Security, and the Pursuit of Happiness in Fortress America
(Routledge, 2003; 275 pp.)

In Behind the Gates, Setha Low investigates the fastest growing housing trend in the United States—gated communities—and provides a revealing account of what life is like inside these suburban fortresses. After spending years interviewing families in such communities, from the Northeast to the Southwest, Low has produced a vivid account of the hopes, dreams, and fears of residents. By walling themselves off, parents with children, young married couples, "empty nesters," and retirees all express their obsession with safety, their fear of a more ethnically diverse America, and the desire to recapture the close-knit communities of their childhoods. Ironically, Low finds that these communities are no safer than other suburbs and that many residents are disheartened by insularity and restrictive rules. Setha Low is professor of anthropology and environmental psychology at The Graduate Center.

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Submitted on: APR 25, 2003

Category: Anthropology | Faculty Books | Psychology