The Influence Of Commodification Cultural Studies Essay
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Precisely, I am going to explain the case of each place as soon as the influence that gentrification and commodification has brought in both areas. After, I am going to analyse the consequences that can be seen nowadays due to those influences.
First of all, I am going to explain what are gentrification and commodification.
Gentrification: it is the process of moving rich people to an area and the changes that occur there due to their influence. The neighbourhood also start changing, because that area is populated by people of lower-income, so when happen the movement, the area begin to modify.
Because of this, sometimes, the urban area start renovating, cleaning the town, but this also have bad influences; this issue carries with increasing tax, rents etc. Moreover, these changes also influences that usual residents cannot afford living more in this area. Nevertheless, there are also positive influences, such as, decreasing crime rates and incrementing economic activity.
(Business dictionary, 2012)
Commodification: we can define as the process of making the culture a commodity. With this process, we refer to an industry and a product where each acquisition strengthens the politics of the dominant worldview: "Horkheimer's insistence that cultural industries served the ideological role of perpetuating the capitalist ethos."
(Barneygrant Tripod, 2012)
The gentrification influence in both areas, is very visible from the first moment you arrive and you start looking through the streets. The gentrification process started few years ago, when prices of local properties commenced to increase. The main consequence of this influence, is that the district people, that were living in that area for some years ago, they have to move because after this situation, they are not able to afford continuing living in there.
This was a very unpleasant situation for the people that in some way they were forced to change their living area, this was a reason why this groups of people were disappointed. In the case of Brick-Lane, the main affected band of people, were the artist ones. This is a negative issue for this area, as they lost one of their attractive points. This kind of consequences, also can be seen in Brixton, since before the gentrification process, it was seen as an area define by its reggae influence, high unemployment and poverty. But as it is obvious, this area was also affected; for the reason that, the Afro-Caribbean population has to left the area cause by the same reason as in Brick-Lane, because they cannot afford living in there.
Along with Brixton, the situation was change quite a lot for the reason that the local multicultural character was transform in an urban renovation. This can be seen as a negative aspect, as they change its main representative, and also, they start creating a richer and a better area from the point of view of these new socioeconomic groups.
The main reason in introducing these changes in Brixton was that they wanted to clean the streets and to be a better place to live. As we all know, in Brixton, since the riots of 1981, the situation was not very pleasant. As the population from here was mostly Afro-Caribbean and they were not very good seeing, local police start controlling them, but I think that they do not have right manners, inasmuch as you cannot arrest someone just without any reason. In consequence, of this bad treatment, I think that maybe their behaviour start getting worst, so the general situation of this area began to be worse.
Moreover, the amount of drugs through the streets was another reason that brings these groups to start changing this area. Due to this issue, the area was known as "drugs capital in London", and this also was by the influence of Afro-Caribbean population.
Despite the negative influence that carries the gentrification process, it might have also a positive aspect. As new socioeconomic groups are incorporate in the area, new people and new cultures are mixed. Still and all, in both of the areas, predominates one cultural group. In the case of Brick-Lane is Bangladeshi people and in Brixton, as I have said before are the Afro-Caribbean people.
After being searching, and after my own experience, I think that the influence of gentrification has been greater in Brixton than in Brick-Lane. When I went to Brixton, and we start walking through the streets, we realize that the movement was already quite advanced. Lots of houses were on sale and the frontage of the houses also was changed. I was able to see that maybe, in an old building, they were effects of rich people, such as more valuable doors, windows etc.
To analyse how the influence of commodification has been, I am going to talk about the food and street art situation in both of them.
Both of this areas, are multicultural places, there are a lots of ethnicities living all together, and the consequences of this can be seen for example in the diversity of food you can find when you go there. About my two experiences, I have the feeling of seeing a lot of food, maybe too much from what I am used.
As soon as Brick Lane, it's most attractive market is the one that is on Sundays, which is a food market. You can find food from different countries, such as, Mexican, Spanish, Jamaican, Moroccan, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Italian and Ethiopian. When I went there, I feel like everything that I was seeing was food, but however, I think that is a good opportunity to tried different type of food. Still and all, I have the feeling that the market was well organized and it was quite clean. This aspect, is a very good way to see how multicultural the area is.
On the other hand, in Brixton we can also observe the different ethnicities there are. When I went there, and I start walking through the market, I realize that it was quite a large market, which it was positioned in different streets, such as in Electric Avenue. You can find all sorts of things, such as vegetables, fruits, meat and fish shops, clothes etc. My own feelings were not very good, as I have the sensation that all the stalls were very near from each other, everything very crowded and untidy. In addition, from my point of view, all things were quite dirty like if they had not care with the food. Maybe, I feel in this way because in my country, in Spain, all markets are tidier, clean and better organize.
I think that according to the food, in both of cases, there is the influence of the multiculturalism, and is an attractive point for both of them and an opportunity to taste different kind of food. Nevertheless, I have better feelings about the food market of Brick Lane, because maybe it was better organize and its appearance was not so dirty.
The multicultural influence I am talking about, also can be seen in both places in the street art that can be seeing when you are walking through the streets.
While I was sightseeing in Brick Lane, I saw different paints done in the walls, which were multi-coloured graffities. What I perceive of those paintings was that they paint because they like colouring in their neighbour walls and in that way they express their feelings.
Regarding to the street art in Brixton, I saw also the multicultural influence in the walls of the streets. But in this area, I have the feeling that the paintings were to protest about the situation they were living. I mean, maybe it was the only way they can express what they think about the situation of riots and other issues.
To start with the conclusion, and before giving my final opinion, I am going to show some experience and feelings that some people from Bick Lane and Brixton have on these areas.
In the next quote, we can read thought of Jean-Paul, a 'white' Anglo-French advertiser comments, about Brick Lane:
"Interviewer: What do you think about Brick Lane?
Jean-Paul: I am gonna say, what my brother said when he came here, 'you get a real sense of community with the shops and all the rest of it- it just doesn't happen to be yours', I think that is a little harsh, you know, but I know what he means, you feel like a visitor to a foreign land, not in a xenophobic or racist kind of way, but just literally, you know."
Whereas, in the following quote, we can observe the resentment expressed by many about how is seeing Brixton. Some teenagers affirm that media play a role in distributing such negative image about Brixton.
"Weona: I think everyone is going to have the same mentality about Brixton, about, you know, it is a rough place. I mean there was that thing in America, whatever, the brochures about London. They said 'avoid Peckham and avoid Brixton'. And I don't think that is fair at all.
Caroline: I didn't hear about that.
Weona: Oh, that was ages ago. It was like all of Brixton is a really rough area, and Peckham as well. 'You are going to get murdered', or whatever, 'the crime rate there is sky high'.
Caroline: And how does that make you feel, like, living in Brixton?
Cheng: Like, maybe if you tell somebody you live in Brixton they will maybe look down on you. Like make you feel bad, like what are you doing here? Like coming from a place like Brixton.
Caroline: Do you think that that would ever create a problem for you?
Lily: No, not for me.
Ien: It depends. â€¦ Some people have this image, the stereotypical image, and if you tell them that Brixton is where you are from, they are going to get instantly into their head that image. They've got already a bad image about you even though they don't know you or, um, got to know you yet. So they just think 'oh, because you live there, you're going to be this type of person'."
(LSE Research Online, 2012)
To conclude, I have to say that I find really interest this work, as I have been able to see how different and attractive these two areas are. Both of them have influences of gentrification and commodification, but the consequences have been different. I think that Brixton is more injured, as the changes have been more than in Brick Lane.
Moreover, after being researching about both areas and having my own experience, I think that if I had to go to one of these zones, I would choose Brick Lane. My general perception has been better in Brick lane, as I feel more comfortable in there. What transmit Brixton is like distrust, as I would not be safe in there, and I know that as they say in the quote before, is because of the negative influence of media and the bad image that it has.