Shonna Trinch and Edward Snajdr, a sociolinguist and an anthropologist respectively, show how the beliefs and ideas that people take as truths about language and its speakers are deployed in these different sign types. They also present in-depth ethnographic case studies that reveal how gentrification and corporate redevelopment in Brooklyn are intimately connected to public communication, literacy practices, the transformation of motherhood and gender roles, notions of historical preservation, urban planning, and systems of privilege. Far from peripheral or irrelevant, shop signs say loud and clear that language displayed in public always matters.
Publisher: Vanderbilt University Press
Number of pages: 340
Dimensions: 229 x 152 mm
--Donald Brenneis, coeditor of the Annual Review of Anthropology
"This analysis of Brooklynites' sense of place is strikingly innovative and the ethnography utterly engaging. We see signage changing with the influx of gentrification, contrasting assumptions about whose Brooklyn it really is, and both older and newer residents invested in a sense of place as incoming chain businesses assuredly are not."
--Bonnie Urciuoli, author of Exposing Prejudice: Puerto Rican Experiences of Language, Race, and Class
"A compelling study of how business signs in Brooklyn neighborhoods serve as 'place-making technologies' that both signal and work in the interests of gentrification. The central argument--that 'new school' signs, while directly indexing playfulness and cleverness, indirectly index exclusivity--drives home the often subtle but profound ways that language is implicated in gentrification and exclusion, regardless of a sign author's expressed intent."
--Gabriella Gahlia Modan, author of Turf Wars: Discourse, Diversity, and the Politics of Place
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