Culture Clash and Second Home Ownership in the U.S. Northern Forest


  • This research was sponsored by the Northeastern States Research Cooperative. We thank Brian Eisenhauer, Walter Kuentzel, and Todd Gabe for their collaboration in this research. We also thank Richard Krannich for thoughtful comments on a previous draft.

Address correspondence to Andrea Armstrong at 0730 Old Main Hill, Logan, UT 84322, telephone 607-437-1487, e-mail:


Culture clash, or intracommunity tensions related to rapid in-migration, between permanent and newcomer residents has been well studied in relation to environmental conservation in natural amenity communities; however, less is known about culture clash within communities characterized by high rates of second home ownership. We examine the causes of perceived culture clash in communities of the U.S. Northern Forest using mail survey data from four case studies within New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. In contrast to past culture clash research, we consider multiple dimensions of cultural capital that are independent of second home owners' rural or urban origins, and how key aspects of culture compare to economic standing and social interaction as drivers of perceived culture clash. Permanent residents perceive greater levels of culture clash than second home owners, net other measures, indicating that seasonal migration in and of itself encourages notions of otherness between residents. More frequent social interaction between resident groups helps to ameliorate intracommunity tensions. Cultural capital and social interaction measures were equally effective in explaining variation in perceived culture clash. Our findings indicate that the culture clash concept extends beyond scenarios of environmental conflict and applies to more general forms of intergroup tensions.