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Title: La Flor y Muerte de un Barrio. An Ethnography on Comprehensive Gentrification and Class Struggle in Urban Majorca
Author: Morell i Tipper, Marc Andreu
Director/Tutor: Delgado, Manuel, 1956-
Miquel Novajra, Alejandro, 1956-
Keywords: Antropologia urbana
Ennobliment (Urbanisme)
Lluita de classes
Patrimoni cultural
Mallorca (Illes Balears)
Urban anthropology
Social conflict
Cultural heritage
Majorca (Balearic Islands)
Issue Date: 17-Dec-2015
Publisher: Universitat de Barcelona
Abstract: [eng] With his seminal proposal of a rent-gap theory, Neil Smith developed a consistent materialist explanation for gentrification that efficiently contended with individual consumer preference tenets by focusing on the cycles of capital’s disinvestment and reinvestment in the built environment thanks to the necessary mediation of forms of collective social action. However, since the rent-gap theory had been devised to argue against «consumer preference», with the emphasis on the back-to-the-city movement by capital and not people, all understandings of people vanished, including those that hold them to be the bearers of particular class relations and interests. Despite later attempts to mellow such a structuralist approach by teasing out the working-class experience of resistance and displacement, it is hard to find in the original and subsequent work on rent gaps any explicit reference to the actual class relations that take place in the production of space of which gentrification is only one out of many expressions. These class relations are encouraged by the geographical expansion of capital and by the bureaucratic mediations of the State but in the last instance all of these are dependent on the labour of the working class. Such an understanding bears the possibility for thinking and implementing the limits to gentrification. Not only does gentrification have to face the contradictions of capital in its geographical expansion, and the conflictive State mediations encountered at every moment of the rent gap, but it may also encounter the opposition of a working class objectively made within the gentrification process. After theorizing on the role ethnography can play in social anthropology and by extension in all social sciences, and by drawing lessons from the extensive oeuvre of Henri Lefebvre and to some ulterior developments on the production of space, I offer an ethnographic account for Es Barri, an area subject to comprehensive gentrification in the Historic Centre of Ciutat de Mallorca (also known as Palma, Spain). Although only partially successful, I argue the gentrification encountered in the field is comprehensive in so far it has been sought from several different instances and by various means, among which the involvement of so-called civil society organizations specialized in implementing on the ground the ideas of scale (the neighbourhood) and preservation (heritage) the class relation the rent-gap hypothesis holds. Furthermore, with the aim of complementing Neil Smith’s contribution regarding the collective mediator the State is, and acknowledging that gentrification is only yet another a spatial expression of a much more comprehensive social relation, I argue each of the rent-gap moments of disinvestment and reinvestment are laboured by different groups (the so-called underclass and the middle classes) that, despite the fact they carry out a struggle that subjectively brings them together, they are apparently unaware of forming a single working class that produces surplus for others thanks to what I come to call their «urban labour». Likewise, I contend that for rent gaps to be successful and find a profitable closure there is a need to maintain as wide open as possible the class gap on which urban labour is founded upon. Against the description of the spatialisation of classes that are already formed, there is a need to explain politically how spatialisation intervenes in the urban struggle that makes them.
[cat] Amb la teoria del diferencial de renda, Neil Smith desenvolupà una sòlida explicació materialista que serví per a entendre els processos de «gentrificació». Per a fer front als postulats de la preferència del consumidor individual, hi fità la ullada en els cicles de desinversió i reinversió del capital en l’entorn construït que estaven subjectes a la necessària mediació de formes d’acció social col·lectiva. En aquesta tesi doctoral hi contribuesc a la hipòtesi del diferencial de renda tot afirmant que cadascun dels cicles es basteixen a partir del «treball urbà» de diferents grups socials («classes marginals« i «classes mitjanes») que fan part d’una mateixa classe obrera del que uns tercers n’extreuen plusvàlues. A fi de confirmar aquest extrem, analitz el paper de l’etnografia en l’antropologia social i per extensió en el conjunt de les ciències socials, extrec lliçons de l’obra de Henri Lefebvre i de desenvolupaments ulteriors entorn de la producció de l’espai, i oferesc un relat etnogràfic de com es construí Es Barri, una àrea sotmesa a una gentrificació integral en el Centre Històric de la Ciutat de Mallorca (a les Illes Balears, Espanya). La hipòtesi del «treball urbà» permet pensar en els límits a la gentrificació com a una expressió més de la producció de l’espai, i ho fa des de posicionaments que fan prevaldre el treball per sobre del capital i de l’Estat gràcies al fet de considerar la formació objectiva d’una mateixa classe obrera a partir de la cooperació de grups ben diferenciats en una mateixa cadena de producció de valor. Ara bé, és precisament per mor d’aquesta diversitat que a nivell subjectiu no trobam una consciència col·lectiva explícita. Sostenc que per a que el diferencial de renda no es pugui tancar profitosament, cal acostar tant com sigui possible el diferencial de classe sobre el que es fonamenta el treball urbà. Contra la descripció de l’espacialització de les classes que ja estan formades, cal explicar políticament com l’espacialització hi intervé en la lluita urbana que les fa.
Appears in Collections:Tesis Doctorals - Departament - Antropologia Cultural i Història d'Amèrica i d'Àfrica

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