Leontina Hormel

Nov 24, 2023

Trailer Park America

Reimagining Working-Class Communities

Rutgers University Press 2023

In rural northern Idaho in the winter of 2013-2014, Syringa Mobile Home Park’s water system was contaminated by sewage, resulting in residents’ water being shut off for 93 days. By summer 2018 Syringa had closed, forcing residents to relocate or face homelessness. 

In Trailer Park America: Reimagining Working-Class Communities (Rutgers UP, 2023), Dr. Leontina Hormel chronicles how residents dealt with regulatory agencies, frequent boil order notices, threats of closure, and class-based social stigma over this period. Despite all this, what was seen as a dysfunctional, ‘disorderly’ community by outsiders was instead a refuge where veterans, women heads of households, and people with disabilities or substance use disorders were supported and understood. The embattled Syringa community also organized to defend the rights and dignity of residents and served as a site for negotiating with local government, culminating in a class-action lawsuit that reached the federal level. The experiences Syringa residents faced in this conservative, predominately white region of the United States are emblematic of the growing national and global crisis in affordable housing and home ownership, with declining work conditions and incomes for the working-class.

Michael O. Johnston, Ph.D. is a Assistant Professor of Sociology at William Penn University. He is the author of The Social Construction of a Cultural Spectacle: Floatzilla (Lexington Books, 2023) and Community Media Representations of Place and Identity at Tug Fest: Reconstructing the Mississippi River (Lexington Books, 2022). His general area of study is about the construction of identity and place. He is currently conducting research for his next project that looks at nightlife and the emotional labor that is performed by bouncers at bars and nightclubs. To learn more about Michael O. Johnston you can go to his website, Google Scholar, Twitter @ProfessorJohnst, or by email at johnstonmo@wmpenn.edu.

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Michael O. Johnston, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at William Penn University.

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