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A Nation of NeighborhoodsImagining Cities, Communities, and Democracy in Postwar America$
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Benjamin Looker

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226073989

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226290454.001.0001

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A Place Apart

A Place Apart

The “New Ghetto” and the “Old Neighborhood”

(p.135) Five A Place Apart
A Nation of Neighborhoods

Benjamin Looker

University of Chicago Press

Amid mounting public concern over the nation's simmering “urban crisis,” journalists, social scientists, and critics struggled to determine the relevance of received notions of neighborhood functions and values to the 1960s central cities. Tracing this debate in social-scientific scholarship and popular criticism, chapter 5 demonstrates how liberal critics resurrected older romantic stories about the white immigrant enclave as a way to diagnose the problems afflicting black inner-city residential communities. Yet the sharp contrast drawn here between the “old neighborhood” and the “new ghetto,” this chapter demonstrates, relied upon the erasure of African-American neighborhood cultures and loyalties. In response, intellectuals such as Carol Stack and Ralph Ellison sought to reincorporate black city districts into a wider neighborhood narrative, even as their work itself became subject to appropriation by conservatives.

Keywords:   inner-city, neighborhood, criticism, African American, social scientists, immigrant, Carol Stack, Ralph Ellison

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