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|Title:||ARTS IN THE CITY: VISIONS OF JAMES STREET NORTH, 2005-2011|
|Authors:||Sage, Vanessa E.|
|Advisor:||Badone, Ellen E.F.|
|Keywords:||Arts;Revitalization;Cities;Hamilton;Hope;Social and Cultural Anthropology;Social and Cultural Anthropology|
|Abstract:||<p>I argue in this dissertation that aestheticizing urban landscapes represents an effort to create humane public environments in disenfranchised inner-city spaces, and turns these environments into culturally valued sites of pilgrimage. Specifically, I focus on James Street North, a neighbourhood undergoing artistic renewal in the post-industrial city of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Based on two years of ethnographic fieldwork in the arts scene on James Street North, my thesis claims that artistic activities serve as an ordinary, everyday material response to the perceived and real challenges of poverty, crime and decay in downtown Hamilton. Aesthetic elaboration is a generative and tangible expression by arts stakeholders of their intangible hopes, desires, and dreams for the city. People’s hope, desires and dreams, however, are not all the same. Debates about the space use on James Street North generally take the form of pro-city revitalization versus anti-gentrification. These responses, I argue, are ultimately tied to, and concerned with, larger questions about the authenticity of place. Further, the authenticity of place is tied to a nostalgic yearning for a past that is symbolically associated with ‘country’ ideals of a close-knit community and a place of respite and renewal away from the ‘city.’ The aestheticization of this particular urban landscape, that was repeatedly imagined, reinforced, and performed during my fieldwork, is an attempt to humanize and democratize the street and the city rather than dehumanize and colonize it. Further, the street itself, in becoming tied to the hopes and desires of people, has taken on an almost sacred quality. As such, James Street North, as a destination to which people journey, and as a place in which both personal and social transformation occurs, is likened to a site of secular pilgrimage.</p>|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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