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'Let Us Devastate the Avenues Where the Wealthy Live’: resisting gentrification in the 21st century city

'Let Us Devastate the Avenues Where the Wealthy Live’: resisting gentrification in the 21st century city
'Let Us Devastate the Avenues Where the Wealthy Live’: resisting gentrification in the 21st century city
This paper explores why individual retailers have become the target of anti-gentrification protest, examining where the ‘blame’ for gentrification should be placed. Some commentators have argued that independent retailers should not be scapegoated, as this blames individuals for wider structural processes. In this paper I provide a brief overview of some of the retailers who have been targeted in anti-gentrification protests. These businesses have been singled out as their aesthetic branding has provoked conflict between existing residents and incoming gentrifiers. In each of these cases, the history of an area has been nostalgically appropriated via ironic marketing campaigns promoting ‘hip’ urban consumption. The paper questions whether these instances can be simply excused as instances of ‘bad taste’ and misjudged marketing. I turn to Bourdieu to think about the ways in which class inequality is upheld via symbolic violence. The paper highlights how social inequality does not just come about via economic restructuring, but also through symbolic gestures and lifestyles, which mark certain places as both financially and culturally out of reach. Ultimately, I argue that while the wider structures of gentrification may exist beyond the agency of individual retailers and consumers, this does not mean that individuals have no role to play in determining how gentrification plays out in our communities.
1360-7804
1-7
Wilkinson, Eleanor
b4e83f65-1c06-4c86-b70c-4cd307d2738a
Wilkinson, Eleanor
b4e83f65-1c06-4c86-b70c-4cd307d2738a

Wilkinson, Eleanor (2016) 'Let Us Devastate the Avenues Where the Wealthy Live’: resisting gentrification in the 21st century city. Sociological Research Online, 21 (3), 1-7. (doi:10.5153/sro.4026).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This paper explores why individual retailers have become the target of anti-gentrification protest, examining where the ‘blame’ for gentrification should be placed. Some commentators have argued that independent retailers should not be scapegoated, as this blames individuals for wider structural processes. In this paper I provide a brief overview of some of the retailers who have been targeted in anti-gentrification protests. These businesses have been singled out as their aesthetic branding has provoked conflict between existing residents and incoming gentrifiers. In each of these cases, the history of an area has been nostalgically appropriated via ironic marketing campaigns promoting ‘hip’ urban consumption. The paper questions whether these instances can be simply excused as instances of ‘bad taste’ and misjudged marketing. I turn to Bourdieu to think about the ways in which class inequality is upheld via symbolic violence. The paper highlights how social inequality does not just come about via economic restructuring, but also through symbolic gestures and lifestyles, which mark certain places as both financially and culturally out of reach. Ultimately, I argue that while the wider structures of gentrification may exist beyond the agency of individual retailers and consumers, this does not mean that individuals have no role to play in determining how gentrification plays out in our communities.

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Accepted/In Press date: 26 June 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 31 August 2016
Published date: 31 August 2016
Organisations: University of Southampton

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Local EPrints ID: 397870
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/397870
ISSN: 1360-7804
PURE UUID: 94f01d20-40fe-4e81-86ef-58aed455538d

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Date deposited: 08 Jul 2016 09:04
Last modified: 06 Oct 2020 18:50

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