Sebastiano Citroni, Paul Lichterman

Cultural entrepreneurialism for civic causes in Milan and Los Angeles

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Cultural Strategy; Urban Ethnography; Inclusion/Exclusion.

How do local cultural organizations try to promote inclusive, inviting urban milieu and what tensions do they face? This paper shows how cultural entrepreneurs in Milan and Los Angeles try altering public perceptions of what is good and inviting, or not, about their urban locales. Mirami, in Milan, tries to regenerate public spaces that welcome diverse populations, including recent immigrants. Mama's Hot Tamales, in Los Angeles, tries to to re-define its neighborhood as an attractive shopping and entertainment destination, not a scary place. The organizations follow different strategies for «packaging» culture, shaped by differing civic traditions. Mama's wants affluent visitors to its neighborhood to create a vicarious identification with immigrant, ethnic cultures. Mirami wants to encourage ordinary Milanese to experience Milan in new ways, to upgrade everyday sociability in city life. Our ethnographic approach shows how each strategy of promoting an inclusive urban locale encounters different social and cultural tensions that approaches focused solely on economic or inter-racial conflict would miss.

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