Conclusion: A Nice Place to Visit

Catherine Cocks

in Doing the Town

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2001 | ISBN: 9780520227460
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520926493 | DOI:
Conclusion: A Nice Place to Visit

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This chapter talks about the separation of spheres and the elaborate etiquette of refinement that seemed prudish rather than prudent to many well-to-do Americans in the early twentieth century. The old sociospatial ideal impeded the cultural economy much as small local or regional businesses impeded the continuing growth of the market. Increasingly, a reformed middle class founded its identity on forms of cultural capital that did not rely as much on personal networks and local customs so central to refinement. The range of acceptable difference was limited, and was accompanied by dehumanizing stereotypes and the aestheticization of poverty. But the social distance that tourism drew on and encouraged did open up a space in which cultural differences became desirable for well-to-do white Americans. Urban tourism depended on the commodification and elaboration of hierarchically ranked differences, yet it also facilitated a kind of cultural pluralism not often found in the mid-nineteenth century.

Keywords: well to do; old sociospatial ideal; dehumanizing stereotypes; aestheticization of poverty; white Americans; urban tourism

Chapter.  2191 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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