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Upscaling DowntownFrom Bowery Saloons to Cocktail Bars in New York City$
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Richard E. Ocejo

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691155166

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691155166.001.0001

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Weaving a Nostalgia Narrative

Weaving a Nostalgia Narrative

(p.86) Chapter 3 Weaving a Nostalgia Narrative
Upscaling Downtown

Richard E. Ocejo

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the social reasons behind collective action against economic development. In particular, it considers how early gentrifiers construct a “nostalgia narrative” that they use to create a community ideology and a new self-identity as their neighborhood's “symbolic owners” that serve as bases for collective action. It also explores how and why neighborhood residents continue to protest bars despite recognizing their powerlessness to prevent nightlife growth and occupying a role as its victim. The chapter focuses on a longtime resident named Bob, who moved to the East Village at the start of its gentrification and who, like other early gentrifiers, stayed in their neighborhood through its rough years rely on their own past experiences and definitions of community to contest them as “theirs.” Since it draws on a past that is both imagined and personal, the residents' narrative presents its own internal contradictions while their sense of community and organized protests exclude certain groups, such as the neighborhood's existing low-income residents.

Keywords:   collective action, economic development, nostalgia narrative, self-identity, neighborhood residents, bars, nightlife, gentrification, community, protests

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