African Americans and Gentrification in Washington, D.C.: Race, Class and Social Justice in the Nation’s Capital (Hardback) book cover

African Americans and Gentrification in Washington, D.C.

Race, Class and Social Justice in the Nation’s Capital

By Sabiyha Prince

© 2014 – Routledge

194 pages

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Hardback: 9781409446125
pub: 2014-01-02

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About the Book

This book uses qualitative data to explore the experiences and ideas of African Americans confronting and constructing gentrification in Washington, D.C. It contextualizes Black Washingtonians’ perspectives on belonging and attachment during a marked period of urban restructuring and demographic change in the Nation’s Capital and sheds light on the process of social hierarchies and standpoints unfolding over time. African Americans and Gentrification in Washington, D.C. emerges as a portrait of a heterogeneous African American population wherein members define their identity and culture as a people informed by the impact of injustice on the urban landscape. It presents oral history and ethnographic data on current and former African American residents of D.C. and combines these findings with analyses from institutional, statistical, and scholarly reports on wealth inequality, shortages in affordable housing, and rates of unemployment. Prince contends that gentrification seizes upon and fosters uneven development, vulnerability and alienation and contributes to classed and racialized tensions in affected communities in a book that will interest social scientists working in the fields of critical urban studies and urban ethnography. African Americans and Gentrification in Washington, D.C. will also invigorate discussions of neoliberalism, critical whiteness studies and race relations in the 21st Century.


'While Prince's findings are situated in anthropological theory, her work is accessible to a broader audience, and the oral history interviews she utilized provide compelling examples of the impact of gentrification on the lives of longtime African American residents of the city. Of interest to scholars and students of urban studies, urban planning, and African American studies, as well as community members and practitioners involved in gentrification-related issues in cities across the US. … Highly recommended.' Choice ’An important and much anticipated study that places race at the center of a rigorous and sustained analysis of gentrification. As skillful in exposing the neoliberal policies at the root of gentrification as it is in appreciating the look and feel of gentrification as lived by residents. An eye-opener and must-read work.’ Arlene Davila, New York University, USA ’African Americans and Gentrification in Washington, D.C. represents a brand of rigorous and ambitious scholarship on urban culture that should serve as a valuable model for other scholars attempting to work across the boundaries of traditional disciplinary formations. Prince brings a meticulous eye and deft analytical focus to the issue of gentrification in contemporary black America. I can’t wait to use this book in class.’ John L. Jackson, Jr., University of Pennsylvania, USA 'Using qualitative data, including extensive interview material and ethnographic research, to explore the experiences and ideas of African Americans as they confront and construct gentrification, this book aims to contextualize Black Washingtonians’ perspectives on belonging and attachment during a marked period of urban restructuring and demographic change in the US capital. This book is particularly valuable for those studying middle-class urban renaissances in other places and eras …' LSE Review of Books 'African Americans and Gentrification in Washington DC provides a broad analysis of this com

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Gentrification, race, and neoliberalism in Washington, DC; Race, and class hierarchies in DC history; Arrival, belonging, difference: exploring the oral histories of elder African Americans; Race, place, representation, and attachment; Race, class and the individual dynamics of gentrification; Race, class, and the collective responses to gentrification; Furthering an anthropology of gentrification in DC; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Sabiyha Prince is a cultural anthropologist and independent scholar who resides in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area.

About the Series

Urban Anthropology

Urban Anthropology
The first series of its kind to be established by a major academic press, Urban Anthropology publishes ethnographically global, original, empirically-based works of high analytical and theoretical calibre, all of which are peer reviewed. The series publishes sole-authored and edited manuscripts that address key issues that have comparative value in the current international academic and political debates. These issues include, but are by no means limited to: the methodological challenges posed by urban field research; the role of kinship, family and social relations; the gap between citizenship and governance; the legitimacy of policy and the law; the relationships between the legal, the semi-legal and the illegal in the economic and political fields; the role of conflicting moralities across the social, cultural and political spectra; the problems raised by internal and international migration; the informal sector of the economy and its complex relationships with the formal sector and the law; the impact of the process of globalization on the local level and the significance of local dynamics in the global context; urban development, sustainability and global restructuring; conflict and competition within and between cities.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / Urban