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The Blind Men and the Elephant: The Explanation of Gentrification

Chris Hamnett
Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers
Vol. 16, No. 2 (1991), pp. 173-189
DOI: 10.2307/622612
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/622612
Page Count: 17
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Blind Men and the Elephant: The Explanation of Gentrification
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Abstract

This paper critically reviews the major theories of gentrification which have emerged over the last 10 years and the debate which has surrounded them. It argues that the reason why the gentrification debate has attracted so much interest, and has been so hard fought, is that it is one of key theoretical battlegrounds of contemporary human geography which highlights the arguments between structure and agency, production and consumption, capital and culture, and supply and demand. It also argues that each of the two major explanations which have been advanced to account for gentrification (the rent gap and the production of gentrifiers) are partial explanations, each of which is necessary but not sufficient. Finally, it argues that an integrated explanation for gentrification must involve both explanation of the production of devalued areas and housing and the production of gentrifiers and their specific consumption and reproduction patterns.

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