The University of Massachusetts Amherst


Jonathan Wynn

Associate Professor and Department Chair

Jonathan Wynn studies urban culture. His two major publications are The Tour Guide: Walking and Talking New York (2011, University of Chicago Press, Fieldwork Encounters and Discoveries Series) and Music/City: American Festivals and Placemaking in Austin, Nashville, and Newport (2015, University of Chicago Press). In addition to articles published in City & Community, Qualitative Sociology, Media, Culture and SocietySociological Forum, Cultural Sociology, and Contexts Magazine, two of his articles are “Hobo to Doormen: The Characters of Qualitative Analysis, Past and Present” (in Ethnography), and "On the Sociology of Occasions" (in Sociological Theory). Pieces of public sociology have been placed in The Guardian, The Conversation, and The Washington Post.

His most recent book, Music/City, is a comparative, multi-method analysis of three music festivals (the Country Music Association Festival in Nashville, the Newport Folk Festival, and the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas). The book details the interrelationship between festivals and their cities, marking how they support and exploit each other through these internationally recognized events with rich description and interviews from a wide array of key urban and cultural placemakers. The book culminates with an argument for temporary events as critical to the culture of cities and their communities.

He working on an Urban Culture primer (co-authored with Andrew Deener) that is under contract with Oxford University Press, and a three-city comparative study on the "paradoxes of the medically-overserved urban community" tentatively entitled "The Hospital and The City" (co-authored with Dan Skinner and Berkeley Franz) under contract with University of Chicago Press.

Since 2011 Wynn has been a regular contributor to the Everyday Sociology blog, and is a contributor to the UMass Prison Education Initiative

Listen to an interview on BBC Radio on The Tour Guide. Listen to "Death to Concrete Culture" on WGBH Boston/PRI's Innovation HubThe Academic Minute and the Australian Broadcasting Company's Future Tense for discussions of Music/City.


PhD, The Graduate Center, CUNY, 2006

Research Areas

Urban and Cultural Sociology, Ethnography, Theory