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Alternative Food and Gentrification: Farmers’ Markets, Community Gardens and the Transformation of Urban Neighborhoods

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In the past decade, food has emerged as a central element of a cultural and symbolic economy centered on selling lifestyles and aestheticizing the ordinary as a way to brand urban places (Zukin 2008; Bridge and Dowling 2001). Food has become an important marker of identity, used as a “social weapon” to distinguish high culture from low culture (Bourdieu 1984) and reinforce class positions (Johnston and Bauman 2014). As Guthman (2011) argues, these class distinctions operate at the body scale, where fatness, for instance, is interpreted as resulting from poor individual choices, a symbol of weakness and moral inferiority. They also unfold at the neighborhood scale, where the presence of particular food establishments indicates desirability and reflects social hierarchies. While fast food restaurants and convenience stores often stigmatize areas, popular eateries, public gardens and healthy retailers are associated with trendiness and liveliness (Guthman 2018; Joassart-Marcelli, Rossiter and Bosco 2017; Joassart-Marcelli and Bosco 2018). As we show in this chapter, uneven urban food landscapes are intimately connected to processes of gentrification and shaped along lines of race and class by political decisions and capital flows.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2018

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