Turf Wars: Discourse, Diversity, and the Politics of Place
January 2007, ©2006, Wiley-Blackwell
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"A highly readable, lively, and unusually accessible work of ethnography that could be the centerpiece of many different kinds of classes from introductory courses in cultural, linguistic, or urban anthropology to graduate seminars in discourse-analytic method. It makes cleat the potential of discourse analysis as an ethnographic tool. It is also likely to remain topical for many years, since it lays out with great clarity the fundamental conundrums and contradictions that city dwellers must navigate in the United States today and captures the discursive practices by which they manage them with great fluency." (Journal of Anthropological Research, November 2008)
"Modan's ethnographic participant observation in Mount Pleasant, a diverse community in the Washington DC area, chronicles how this urban neighborhood made up of African Americans, Salvadorans, Vietnamese, and Mennonites experienced diversification and gentrification, leading to contests over the use of public and private space, gender, kinship, and class. Conflicts came about as the result of real estate speculation, the "politics of filth" debate over proposed public toilets, and other related issues. Modan (English, Ohio State Univ.) argues that the spatial practices and politics contest and challenge the dominant ideas regarding the use of space. The author presents two theoretical chapters on framing, discourse, and performance, and discusses ideas of Goffman, Castells, Lefevre, and many others. In the process, she illuminates how local activity can shape social processes. Material is current and includes a 15-page bibliography ... .Recommended." (CHOICE)"Turf Wars is endlessly rich and lively, and will be a fundamental text on how Americans in the beginning of the twenty-first century live in cities." –Jane Hill, University of Arizona
"Turf Wars gives voice to old and new immigrants in a complicated neighborhood. Modan makes a key contribution to understanding how language reflects and recreates processes of including and excluding other people as proper members of the community. Because so many people live in seemingly multicultural but deeply contested and changing communities, this book will engage readers drawn to the complexities of cities and those interested in more egalitarian urban policies." –Brett Williams, American University