Smallville: Institutionalizing community in Twenty-first-century America

Author: Carl Milofsky


Date of Publication: 2008

Publisher: Tufts University Press

Publisher Synopsis

Familiar organizational theories often do not fit comfortably when applied to community-level associations or small, local, nonprofit organizations. In Smallville, Carl Milofsky empirically and theoretically studies the organizational dynamics involved in this common American model. Organizations functioning within a community are usually treated as separate units, but when they all exist in the same place and tend to be made up of the same people who are living out different aspects of their identities in various settings, a new analytical paradigm is required. Milofsky’s study culminates in the formulation of an innovative way of understanding this phenomenon–an essential, pioneering theory of “transorganizations”.

From Community Development Journal, 45(1), January, 2010

“The breath and diversity of the case studies in Smallville create an engaging and compelling picture of local organizing, a process that is shown to both drive and be driven by communities. Set against a background perception that civil society is in decline, Milofsky’s portrayal suggests that important manifestations of civil society remain unrecognized. The central thesis of the book, that traditional ideas from organizational theories are insufficient to understand local community organizations and that they can instead be more usefully understood in organizational terms if seen in relation to the communities in which they are embedded, is convincingly argued. Consequently, Smallville represents an important contribution to furthering understanding of the dynamics and practices of community organizations.”


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