Barrio Dreams: Puerto Ricans, Latinos, and the Neoliberal City

Barrio Dreams: Puerto Ricans, Latinos, and the Neoliberal City

Barrio Dreams: Puerto Ricans, Latinos, and the Neoliberal City

Barrio Dreams: Puerto Ricans, Latinos, and the Neoliberal City

Synopsis

"Davila's keen insights into the politics of marketing ethnicity, community marginalization and class divisions cuts through neo-liberal postures to glaringly reveal the real issue - who will construct (and control) East Harlem's future? Well versed in the scholarship, Davila has produced a book that is essential for understanding the increasingly important role and aspirations of Puerto Rican and Latino communities in New York's history."--Virginia Sanchez Korrol, author of "From Colonia to Community: The History of Puerto Ricans in New York City

"Providing an expansive ethnographic portal into New York's famous 'El Barrio, ' Davila documents the ways in which the neighborhood's Latino cultures can be commodified as a magnet for gentrification as well as providing an obstacle to it. An absorbing read providing a unique contemporary perspective on East Harlem."--Neil Smith, author of "American Empire: Roosevelt's Geographer and the Prelude to Globalization

"Unlike most ethnographers of the urban poor in,search of authentic street experience, Davila gives us an ethnography of power. With rich insights and sensitivity, she documents the pitched battles between developers, politicians, long-time residents, newcomers, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, and African Americans over space, gentrification and cultural representation in East Harlem. Davila peels back the many layers of local stories in order to reveal a complex, national story of resistance against urban neoliberalism."--Robin D. G. Kelley, author of "Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination

Excerpt

“This is not an antipoverty program, ” repeated New York City congressman Charles Rangel to a beleaguered audience of East Harlemites, mostly Black and Puerto Rican, in an informational forum on Empowerment Zone (EZ) legislation. Once again, the initiative he himself had helped design to revitalize distressed inner-city communities through economic investment and incentives was the subject of much reproach and criticism. In particular, East Harlem Latinos felt that they and their community had been neglected by the initiative. But Rangel was adamant: “This is not about your dreams. This is about business, profit, and jobs. ” Only projects that prove to be profitable and “entrepreneurial” would be considered for funding. But he was speaking at the Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center in March 2002, itself the product of previous struggles, not to mention state distribution programs to quench polit-

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