Thursday, March 27, 2008

"white flight" and hegemonic discourse

I always hated the term "white flight" used to describe the transition from a white neighborhood to a minority neighborhood because it focuses only on one half of the story. Because in order for a white homeowner to "fly" and sell his house you need a minority homeowner to enter and buy the house. So why is it that only the white person has agency while the majority is embedded in structure. The white person is doing, while the minority is having something done to him. When you flip the scenario, and have a minority neighborhood transition to white, it's called gentrification, and again it is the white folk doing the gentrifying and it is not "black flight" though empirically the two should be the same.

Not sure if anyone has done the paper that separates out whether increasing black population lowers prices or whether decreasing prices attracts a greater black population. Might be a good economic paper.

This center has agency, periphery embedded in structure mode of discourse I'm sure has been studied to death. But an interesting area of research that I have little clue about. Just thought about it because TAL did a recent story on gentrification, and why because micromotives for macrobeaviors are hard to see, folk logic assumes gentrification is conspiracy driven, rather than driven by market forces. But that's another subject.
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