Jonathan Wynn is Associate Professor of Sociology and Department Chair at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He works at the intersection of urban and cultural sociology.
In the spirit of decades of intimate studies on specific urban characters, his first book, The Tour Guide: Walking and Talking New York (2011, University of Chicago Press, Fieldwork Encounters and Discoveries Series) provides a detailed examination of the informal tourism labor market through the experiences of walking guides at a major international tourism node. Using ethnographic data, The Tour Guide shows how a pool of primarily lay historians use the free resources of public spaces and history to make sidewalks educational spaces and refashion their own lives into more meaningful ones as they become passionate activists and neighborhood boosters.
Wynn’s second book, Music/City: American Festivals and Placemaking in Austin, Nashville and Newport (2015, University of Chicago Press) is a comparative, multi–method analysis of three music festivals (the Country Music Association Festival in Nashville, the “Dunkin’ Donuts” Newport Folk Festival, and the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas). This project examines how city stakeholders have adopted “festivalization” as an urban cultural policy, and the affects of city branding on both locals and visitors, event organizers and participants.
A third book on urban cultures, co-authored with Andrew Deener, is under contract at Oxford University Press, and The Hospital and The City: The paradox of the medically-overserved community is under contract at the University of Chicago Press.
His work has also been published in City & Community, Media, Culture & Society, Sociological Theory, Qualitative Sociology, Sociological Forum, Socius, Contexts, and Ethnography. He was the co-editor of the ASA Culture Section Newsletter (2011-2014), a 2017 Public Engagement Project Fellow. He currently serves as the co-chair for the UMass Amherst Common Read committee, an advisory board member for the Penguin/Random House First Year Experience, supports the UMass Amherst Emerging Scholars program, and writes for the Everyday Sociology blog.