Date of Degree

9-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Program

Liberal Studies

Advisor

Eugenia Paulicelli

Subject Categories

Anthropology | Sociology

Keywords

Corona, Jackson Heights, Fashion Studies, Gentrification, New York

Abstract

The following thesis is a comparative multipart examination into the ways in which globalization, translocality, and gentrification influence communities and their inhabitants through the lens of fashion. Political and social forces drive processes of consumption. In the Corona and Jackson Heights sections of Queens, New York, several waves of migration and immigration have given rise to an extremely diverse yet socially complex area. Historically, four major shopping districts: Roosevelt Avenue, 74th Street, 82nd Street, and Junction Boulevard developed in the two towns and reflected much of the demography within. Currently these districts are physically accessible to anyone able to traverse the area, however, much like the both towns heavily racially stratified pasts, and these stores have begun to reflect new forms of boundaries that do not necessarily align with the lives of their inhabitants.

The residents of Corona and Jackson Heights represent a broad range of ethnic groups and socio-economic status. Smaller stores that catered to culturally relevant aesthetic tastes are closing, making way for larger corporate chain stores, often with far higher price points, sometimes unaffordable to minority and long-time residents. Business Improvement District rezoning efforts by local government have further allowed for such changes, an implicit indication of who should be living within these areas paying little attention to activism against such efforts. The residents who are organizing against these changes not only want to remain attached to their desires, cultures, and various subcultures through space but also through the ability to access and adorn themselves in clothing that allows for self-imaging and identification with others who also fashion themselves similarly.

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