Jun 30th, 2015
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Abraham Lincoln University
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Place, Space, Identity: A Spatial Semiotics of the Urban Vernacular in Global CitiesAlthough urban communities in global cities appear quite different, particularly at firstglance, spatial semiotic analysis reveals similarities in glocalized spaces. People changethe meaning of social spaces by changing the way these places look, through theiractivities and by their presence. Understanding how this meaning-making happens iscritical to the study of urban places and cultures. Because of globalization, diverse peoplefrequently live within the same political boundaries, but the real test of community takesplace during the course of everyday life on the streets, in the shops, and in public spacesof neighborhoods. Class, racial, and ethnic hierarchies mark urban space with differentialmeanings. Though disadvantaged in conflicts with elites, ordinary urban dwellers expresstheir agency in the ways they challenge and sometimes subvert the official uses ofsocial space. This entails, in part, remaking the space to look familiar in order to makethe space their own place. Through their social interactions and their material traces,urban dwellers fill social space with expressive, conative and phatic signs of theircollective identity. The spatial semiotic perspective, we argue, offers a way to transcendthe usual global/local dichotomy of globalization research. Immigrant urban culturesproduce spaces of mixture, where both similarity and difference co-exist. We pr

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