Brooklyn Revisited: An Illustrated View from the Street 1970 to the Present
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Urban ethnographers must understand that while we look at things using close-up lenses, most policy-makers, on the other hand, employ wide-angle lens to describe what is going on at that very same street level. In this chapter, the authors attempt to provide a contrast between those views in the context of the radically changed public perception of the New York City Borough of Brooklyn. When the authors began their sociological research (and social activism) in the late twentieth century, the neighborhoods in which they were active suffered from the spread of middle-class (white) flight and urban blight. Today, in the first two decades of the twenty-first century, the fortunes of these same areas have been reversed, but longer-term residents face new ‘problems’ in the form of gentrification and displacement. It is suggested here that a view from the street can provide a better sociological understanding of the bigger picture.
KeywordsBrooklyn Urban ethnography Gentrification Displacement
A version of this paper was presented at The Commission on Urban Anthropology’s Annual Conference, ‘The Global Financial Crisis and the Moral Economy: Local Impacts and Opportunities,’ was held at Brooklyn College of The City University of New York (CUNY) on June 19, 2015. It is published here with their permission.
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