This thesis explores gated communities in the United States. Two hundred and seventy questionnaires were sent to residents of a gated community in Williamsburg, Virginia to fmd out more about their perceptions of the community and their reasons for moving there. The study also attempted to compare the residents of the community with the typical stereotype of gated developments. As there has been virtually no research conducted on this topic, this was largely an exploratory study. I examined scholarly work on suburbia and community planning and relied on popular literature articles for information about the actual phenomenon. Theories of Karl Marx and Max Weber on class, status, and exclusivity and were discussed and used to analyze the findings of the study, as were urban theories by Georg Simrnel and Louis Wirth. Results illustrated that the stereotypes of these communities have been largely misdirected. The development that I proflled was quite heterogeneous in terms of age, income distribution, level of education, occupational prestige, and class status. Residents had widely different motivations for moving into the community and had a variety of interests, both inside and outside the community. However, pattems emerged in an investigation of the factors which contributed to a feeling of acceptance into the community. Occupational prestige, level of education, and age were not shown to influence whether or not the respondent felt a sense of community among the residents in the development, while social class was significantly correlated. Similarly, occupational prestige was shown to be related to feeling that other residents of the community were snobbish, while age, level of education, and income were not.


Hurst, Charles


Sociology and Anthropology

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis

Available for download on Thursday, January 01, 2150

Request Access



© Copyright 1994 Robin A. Woodall