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Title page for ETD etd-03202017-123938

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Gupta, Jyoti
URN etd-03202017-123938
Title Rose is not an approved color: Discourses of place meaning and the politics of gentrification
Degree Master of Science
Department Community Research and Action
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Paul Speer Committee Chair
James Fraser Committee Member
  • gentrification resistance
  • Place meaning
Date of Defense 2016-11-25
Availability unrestricted
This study investigates the case of an urban core neighborhood of Nashville, Tennessee, where rapid neighborhood changes in terms of the cultural, demographic, and built environments have prompted tensions between residents and concerns over gentrification. While the label ‘gentrification’ has become commonplace to describe changes across the city, a close analysis of the dynamics in changing neighborhoods can shed light on the conditions that make up everyday life that are conducive to, complicit in, or resistant toward the political-economic drivers of neoliberal urban development. Drawing from qualitative interviews and participant observation of community meetings, this research analyzes discourses of place meaning – both uttered and performed – to reveal process of marginalization (especially based on race and class) and resistance. Accounts of gentrification resistance are few, and those that do exist are focused primarily on institutionalized efforts. Additionally, while there is a longstanding empirical literature on the impacts of individuals’ positive place meanings and relationships, there is little investigation of the multivalent nature of place meanings and how dynamics of power, inclusion, and exclusion are present in their expression. Bringing an analysis of place meanings to the study of the case neighborhood finds that resistances are expressed through discourses that disrupt assumptions of inevitability, universal benefit, and political, racial, and social neutrality of market-driven development process. These critical interpretations of neighborhood development as well as this way of listening to neighborhood discourses can inform anti-gentrification organizing efforts that seek to challenge hegemonic place meanings based on property and economic prospect.
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