Article

Gentrification

Japonica Brown-Saracino

in Sociology

ISBN: 9780199756384
Published online January 2013 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199756384-0074
Gentrification

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In 1964 in an effort to describe and classify the transformation of the economic, demographic, commercial, cultural, and physical character of many central London neighborhoods Ruth Glass coined the term “gentrification.” In London: Aspects of Change, Glass observed that “The social status of many residential areas is being ‘uplifted’ as the middle class—or the ‘gentry’—moved into working-class space, taking up residence, opening businesses, and lobbying for infrastructure improvements.” She surmised that a “switch from suburban to urban aspirations,” urban renewal projects, and the movement of light manufacturing out of the central city, as well as the growing ranks of dual-income households and “the difficulties and rising costs of journeys to work” conspired to enable middle-class movement into disinvested neighborhoods. Glass warned that “London may soon be faced with an embarras de richesse in her central area—and this will prove to be a problem, too.” That is, Glass did not want the reader to conclude that the “uplift” she described was unambiguously desirous. Rather, she warned that, already in 1964, “Altogether there has been a great deal of displacement. All those who cannot hold their own—the small enterprises, the lower ranks of people, the odd men out—are being pushed away.” Glass and the process her words capture have induced more than four decades of scholarship—much of which pursues themes implicit in her 1964 book. Scholars in sociology and beyond pursue research that, among other goals and ends, seeks to document the contours of gentrification in a variety of settings, identify gentrification’s origins, and isolate its outcomes and consequences. Some disagree about how best to define gentrification, but nearly all agree that it is consequential for cities. For decades gentrification has had a central place in urban scholarship. As a result, our understanding of gentrification has expanded beyond the dynamics and actors Glass observed. We now know, for instance, about the role of middle- and upper-class African Americans in gentrification, the upscaling of rural villages, and the defining participation of corporations in “uplift.” Today, gentrification scholarship is enormously broad and diverse. For that reason, this bibliography is far from exhaustive. It highlights resources, such as readers and a textbook; representative and particularly influential publications; and markers of the literature’s heterogeneity. It does not seek to promote a specific definition of or explanation for gentrification, for contests over these matters are at the heart of the literature. In short, this bibliography seeks to provide a starting point for learning about and studying gentrification. Borrowing loosely from an organizing framework used elsewhere (see Brown-Saracino 2010 cited under General Overviews), the bibliography highlights overviews of gentrification scholarship, literature on how to define and identify gentrification, research on gentrification’s origins or causes, scholarship on gentrifiers, and articles and books that document and discuss gentrification’s outcomes—particularly its consequences for longtime residents, as well as for the places in which gentrification unfolds.

Article.  16302 words. 

Subjects: Sociology ; Comparative and Historical Sociology ; Economic Sociology ; Gender and Sexuality ; Health, Illness, and Medicine ; Population and Demography ; Race and Ethnicity ; Social Movements and Social Change ; Social Stratification, Inequality, and Mobility ; Social Theory

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