“I Want to be a Witness”: Blogging for Urban Authenticity and Cultural Authority in the East Village

Andrea Glass

Abstract


New vernacular anti-gentrification media communities were formed in the twenty-first century that both documented changes in urban environments and aimed to inspire future action. This essay looks at how a specific blogging community, Jeremiah Moss and the East Village Blog Mafia, started campaigns online and off, facilitated meaningful dialogue, created a distinct folk group that was focused on saving New York City, and became cultural agents of change themselves. Grassroots movements, such as this one, raise important questions about collective identity, community values, and neighborhood diversity, issues that are at the center of our field. This case study is a call for folklorists to study anti-gentrification media communities, folk responses to displacement, and the material culture of vanishing urban cultures and communities. Urban folklorists should be a part of the gentrification conversation going forward.

Keywords


gentrification; urban folklore; vernacular media; blogs; New York City; digital culture

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