ISSN: 20509790
First published in 2014
3 issues per volume
Volume 1 Issue 2
Cover Date: June 2014
Richard Price’s Lower East Side: Cops, culture and gentrification
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Authors:  Thomas Heise 
DOI: 10.1386/jucs.1.2.235_1

Richard Price,Lush Life,New York,Lower East Side,crime fiction,gentrification,urban development

This article interrogates the dominant cultural narrative of gentrification and its deployment and resignification by Richard Price’s novel Lush Life (2008), set in the historic immigrant neighbourhood of the Lower East Side in 2002. Drawing upon theories of urban development and urban history by Neil Smith, Liz Bondi, Christopher Mele and Richard Lloyd, this article argues that Lush Life (2008) dramatizes the violent underpinnings of gentrification. At the same time, Price’s text ironizes contemporary urban redevelopment strategies that resignify and market gritty subcultural and ethnic differences as style in the service of real-estate speculation. What Price’s novel endeavours to show is that in the midst of disorienting social and physical change, urban subjects construct psychogeographies that reinforce personal and social boundaries. They gravitate towards residual signifiers of history and ethnic identification, which capitalist development itself unearths and reanimates, believing they might hold the key to establishing a stabilizing geographical rootedness at the very moment that dominant cultural and physical meanings of place are being upended.
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