Entrepreneurship as activism? Resisting gentrification in Oakland, California

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Alison Hope Alkon


This article investigates the cultural politics of entrepreneurship as a form of opposition to gentrification in Oakland, California. Building on Watkins and Caldwell’s (2004) foundational work, I examine the relationship between political projects–– resisting gentrification, racial and economic disparities––and the cultural work of signifying a community’s continued presence amidst displacement and glorification of newcomers. Based on 30 interviews with employees of food justice non-profit organizations, social enterprises, and government agencies, I argue that activists promote food-based entrepreneurship to create employment and business opportunities for long- term residents that enables them to stay in their hometown. In doing so, the contri­butions of long-standing communities to Oakland’s diverse food cultures are highlighted. However, property values are rising rapidly that even these opportunities cannot ensure that long-term communities remain. For this reason, I conclude by offering examples of direct action and policy advocacy that can supplement these entrepreneurial approaches.


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ALKON, A. H. Entrepreneurship as activism? Resisting gentrification in Oakland, California. RAE - Revista de Administracao de Empresas , [S. l.], v. 58, n. 3, p. 279–290, 2018. DOI: 10.1590/S0034-759020180308. Disponível em: https://periodicos.fgv.br/rae/article/view/74970. Acesso em: 25 sep. 2023.


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