Uniform TitleThe bodega on the corner: neighborhoods, transnationalism, and redevelopment in Philadelphia
NamePine, Adam M. (author), Lake, Robert (chair), St. Martin, Kevin (internal member), Regulska, Joanna (internal member), Grasmuck, Sherri (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
DescriptionThis dissertation examines the relationship between immigration and urban redevelopment through an analysis of two sites of immigration debates in the City of Philadelphia: the city’s promotion of increased international immigration as an economic development tool and the experiences of one group of immigrant entrepreneurs – small neighborhood grocery stores owners from the Dominican Republic. I interviewed city policy makers, neighborhood economic development officials, Dominican storeowners, and conducted participant observation in Dominican-owned stores. I argue that pro-immigration policies embody a form of citizenship whose boundaries are delineated by the needs of the market. The policies act as a form of governmentality because they seek to condition the behavior of immigrants. Similarly, my work with the grocers suggests that their sense of citizenship is coerced and performative: they expressed incredible fears of crime and violence, yet bent over backwards to serve their customers, obey neighborhood codes of conduct, and appear as contented neighborhood residents. The grocers’ actions are therefore designed to preserve their fragile situation as middlemen minority and are not a reflection of feelings of community belonging. My research uses the immigration debates in the City of Philadelphia to suggest new understandings of scale. In looking to other countries for the workers needed to revitalize the city, pro-immigrant policies rescale development to the global level. In contrast, by demanding economically profitable actions from immigrants, the policies rescale economic development down to the bodies of urban residents. The grocers’ mobility questions the appropriateness of the “neighborhood᾿ as a scale of economic development and suggests the need to integrate theories of economic development with theories of migration, transnationalism, and mobility. To this end, the grocers survive through a process I label “temporary permanence᾿ through which they are embedded in Philadelphia neighborhoods while simultaneously using their mobility to constantly transgress neighborhood, urban, and transnational boundaries. Likewise, my work suggests that households constitute an essential scale in the process of urban redevelopment. Because bodegas are family-run businesses that make the social reproduction of families in urban neighborhoods possible they illustrate that households are a vital scale of urban analysis.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references (p. 298-312).
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.