Artistic careers in the cyclicality of art scenes and gentrification : symbolic capital accumulation through space in Bushwick, NYC

Artistic careers in the cyclicality of art scenes and gentrification : symbolic capital accumulation through space in Bushwick, NYC

Publication Type:
article-journal
Date Issued:
2021
Authors:
Chiara Valli
Language:
eng
DOI:
10.1080/02723638.2021.1902122
Abstract:

Why and how do artists engage in activities that likely lead to gentrification, despite their awareness of its effects and despite that they will possibly be among the displaced groups? I highlight a missing link in existing literature explaining the recurring patterns of art scenes and gentrification in US cities– the cyclicality of artistic careers trajectories in art scenes’ spatiality. The study shows that the shifted reputation of the neighborhood in early stages of gentrification is instrumental to positioning individual cultural producers in the cultural field through the local art scene’s collective accumulation of symbolic capital. Early-career artists accumulate symbolic capital through space. Paired with the capitalist and racist legacies of the US city, this contributes to reproducing gentrification. Theoretically, the article draws from Bourdieu’s theory of the cultural field and geographical literature of the symbolic economy. Empirically, it draws on interviews with cultural producers in Bushwick (Brooklyn, NYC).

Keywords:
gentrification art scene Brooklyn cultural workers artists