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Neo-Bohemia: Art and Commerce in the Postindustrial City Paperback – May 9, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0415870979 ISBN-10: 0415870976 Edition: 2nd
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The increasingly intimate but still uneasy relationship between "alternative" cultures and the forces of globalization underlies Vanderbilt professor Lloyd's sparkling ethnographic study of Chicago's hipster enclave Wicker Park. Once the down-at-heel home of Frankie Machine, the junkie protagonist of Nelson Algren's [The Man with the Golden Arm], it's now the sort of neighborhood where one can look at art, linger over a cafe americano, listen to poetry or indie rock, or be cordially abused by record store clerks straight out of High Fidelity, which was filmed there. Good on the big picture, Lloyd's 10 chapters situate the evolving neighborhood within a complex nexus of commercial and social forces that he calls the "aesthetic economy." But as thorough (and commendably dogma- and jargon-free) as Lloyd is on background, it is in the "field" that he shines, bringing abstract concepts to life with a real feel for the "new economy" bars, galleries and high-tech startups, as well as the often happily exploited people who work in them. Trading high wages for the romance of bohemia, the bartenders, baristas and code punchers of Wicker Park are evolving new codes and values often strikingly at odds with suburban ones, and Lloyd's study gives their evolution a wealth of nuanced human detail. This combination of solid research and a good ear gives Lloyd's book an unusual depth; none of his readers is likely to undertip an eyebrow-studded waitserver anytime soon. 15 b&w photos. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Lloyd has done an excellent job of fleshing out a postmodern bohemia…This is an insightful look at the hip neighborhoods that loom so large on the cultural radar and the role they play in the new global division of labor."—Sharon Zukin, Sociology, Brooklyn College

"[Lloyd] turns over an entertainment-district economy descended from Montmartre. … He understands… that in rock and roll and design just as in gallery art there are a few geniuses, hustlers, and genius hustlers who win the lottery and a great many exploited young workers."—Robert Christgau, from barnesandnoblereview.com

"This is fascinating, original and deeply humane sociology at its finest; [Lloyd] demonstrates that in the name of freedom, young people working in allegedly relaxed service-sector jobs waste years of their lives in a whirl of drugs, alcohol and deceptively low wages."—Andrew O’Hehir, Salon



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Product Details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 2 edition (May 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415870976
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415870979
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,054,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By AJ on July 25, 2006
Format: Paperback
Fantastic book centering on the gentrification of Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood. Wicker Park, the once blight and gritty hood that attracted artists and other creatives due to cheap rents and proximity to the Loop, has become one of the hippest areas of the country by way of aspiring artists, rising musicians, and a healthy design commerce. "Neo-Bohemia" gives a somewhat detailed history of Wicker Park and insightful interviews with it's residents (not the yuppies thats have invaded the neighborhood) on their coined "bohemian" culture.

Beyond the history lesson, "Neo-Bohemia" explains how, in our postindustrial era, creative communities are viewed more positively and actually help to gentrify areas that were once avoided. Comparisons to NYC's Greenwich Village and SF's North Beach (along with Paris' Montparnasse and Montmartre) are made to better prove the point. Great read if you have any interest in gentrification and urban development. Only complaint is I felt that there was too much emphasis on the negative aspects of artists Vs. yuppies. I was hoping more for statistics, rehabs and major commerce associated with gentrifying areas.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sean A. Benesh on January 3, 2012
Format: Paperback
Neo-Bohemia Cover Probably to the chagrin of many, I've been posting comments from Neo-Bohemia: Art and Commerce in the Postindustrial City on my Twitter and Facebook pages quite a bit lately. Richard Lloyd weaves a masterful tale about neo-bohemia (and bohemians) set in the context of Wicker Park in Chicago. At 328 pages, the book wasn't overwhelmingly long but it had enough great content for Lloyd to articulate where he is going with the book and why. In his Afterword he again reminds the reader of his intentions of both exploring neo-bohemia and using Wicker Park as the backdrop. "This book is not intended as a definitive history of Wicker Park's bohemian output in the 1990s, but rather is an examination of a particular sort of neighborhood and its historical and structural antecedents." (262)

Lloyd sets out to explore and uncover modern day bohemian enclaves that dot inner-cities across the Western world, again focusing on Wicker Park as a prime example. Other such places that fit the neo-bohemian vibe would be neighborhoods and districts like Greenwich Village, SoHo, Capital Hill (Seattle), Mississippi Ave (Portland), just to name a few that quickly come to mind. From the book description, "Neo-Bohemia brings the study of bohemian culture down to the street level, while maintaining a commitment to understanding broader historical and economic urban contexts." The reasoning behind focusing on neo-bohemia is that, "the new bohemia of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries plays a necessary novel role in enhancing the interests of postindustrial capitalist enterprises, especially property speculation of various sorts, entertainment provision, and new media productions." (18)

Although academic in nature, I found the book refreshingly readable and enjoyable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Kato on September 5, 2011
Format: Paperback
Richard Lloyd has clearly done extensive research and interviews in writing his thoughtful narration of the history and current situation of Wicker Park. The economic collapse and then re-development of the neighborhood proves to be a perfect example of the kind of rebirth of capitalism that we are seeing in the USA in general.
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