Handbook of Gentrification Studies
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Handbook of Gentrification Studies

Edited by Loretta Lees and Martin Phillips

It is now over 50 years since the term ‘gentrification’ was first coined by the British urbanist Ruth Glass in 1964, in which time gentrification studies has become a subject in its own right. This Handbook, the first ever in gentrification studies, is a critical and authoritative assessment of the field. Although the Handbook does not seek to rehearse the classic literature on gentrification from the 1970s to the 1990s in detail, it is referred to in the new assessments of the field gathered in this volume. The original chapters offer an important dialogue between existing theory and new conceptualisations of gentrification for new times and new places, in many cases offering novel empirical evidence.
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Chapter 21: Gentrification, artists and the cultural economy

Andy Pratt


This chapter examines the changing nature of the relationship between gentrification and the cultural economy in theory and practice, it also highlights a gap in debates about gentrification. Whilst the role of culture in the gentrification process has received much attention, the cultural economy has not. The gap stems from tendencies to instrumentalise culture, to reduce it to consumption, and to ignore its value(s) and the means of its production. The chapter focuses on a complex and sometimes misunderstood field, that of cultural production. The paradox that we encounter is that cultural workers and artists are often portrayed as both the causes and the victims of gentrification. An important step in the chapter’s argument is to broaden and contextualise debates about gentrification to make sense of this paradox. It argues that gentrification – drawing on its classical definition as displacement of former residential tenants – should also be further explored in relation to movements and displacements between manufacturing, office, retail and cultural sites.

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