2006 volume 38(10) pages 1965 – 1978

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Bridge G, 2006, "It’s not just a question of taste: gentrification, the neighbourhood, and cultural capital" Environment and Planning A 38(10) 1965 – 1978

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It’s not just a question of taste: gentrification, the neighbourhood, and cultural capital

Gary Bridge

Received 9 February 2005; in revised form 21 April 2005

Abstract. In this paper I explore elements of the relationship between deployments of cultural capital and neighbourhood change. Based on research in a gentrified neighbourhood of Bristol, England, I argue that for gentrifier households with children the need to reproduce (institutional) cultural capital in the education market can conflict with the desire to display (objectified) cultural capital via the gentrification aesthetic in the inner-urban neighbourhood. In the trade-off between aesthetics and education, education wins, resulting in a much more conventional suburban, exurban housing/neighbourhood career for onward-moving gentrifiers. I conclude by suggesting a more diffuse, provincial form of gentrification in which the different strands of cultural capital can conflict in urban space (rather than the smooth reproduction of cultural capital assumed by the idea of a gentrification habitus). It confirms that the intergenerational reproduction of an (urban) new middle class is likely to be confined to large metropolitan areas.

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