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ENTREPRENEURSHIP AS ACTIVISM? RESISTING GENTRIFICATION IN OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA

Authors
  • ALKON, ALISON HOPE
Publication Date
Jun 01, 2018
Source
Scientific Electronic Library Online - Brazil
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown
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Abstract

ABSTRACT This article investigates the cultural politics of entrepreneurship as a form of opposition to gentrification in Oakland, California. Building on Watkins and Caldwell’s (2004) foundational work, I examine the relationship between political projects - resisting gentrification, racial and economic disparities - and the cultural work of signifying a community’s continued presence amidst displacement and glorification of newcomers. Based on 30 interviews with employees of food justice non-profit organizations, social enterprises, and government agencies, I argue that activists promote food-based entrepreneurship to create employment and business opportunities for long-term residents that enables them to stay in their hometown. In doing so, the contributions of long-standing communities to Oakland’s diverse food cultures are highlighted. However, property values are rising rapidly that even these opportunities cannot ensure that long-term communities remain. For this reason, I conclude by offering examples of direct action and policy advocacy that can supplement these entrepreneurial approaches.

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