Excavating the hidden city of social reproduction: A commentary

Katz, C.

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Katz, C. (1998). Excavating the hidden city of social reproduction: A commentary. City & Society, 10(1), 37–46. https://doi-org.ezproxy.gc.cuny.edu/10.1525/city.1998.10.1.37

Landmarks , Neoliberalism , New York City , Privatization , Social Reproduction

The notion of a hidden city of social reproduction, suggests that the uneven relations and material practices of social reproduction are respectively hidden and targeted by a neo-liberal urban agenda. A discussion of the public-private Grand Central Partnership in New York City, reveals some of the ways that this agenda is pursued through preservation, and addresses how particular social actors and their activities are removed from view in the interests of ensuring "orderly," "clean," and "safe" public space.

Main finding
The author asserts that the revitalization of Grand Central Station, as was the case with many public spaces during New York's neoliberalization, masked the unevenness of social reproduction in an era of globalized capitalism. Grand Central, under a Partnership, was socially sanitized with removal of the homeless through harassment and violence - in part enacted by sub-wage 'employed' homeless persons themselves - and the additional removal of shoe shiners, buskers, pamphleteers, proselytizers and some modest retailers. In this public space, the author argues, what is seen is what is meant to be seen, thus traces of the everyday lives of the city's most marginalized are purposefully hidden or erased.

Description of method used in the article
Drew on the work of Dolores Hayden and Frances Fox Piven in terms of the naturalization of dominant power relations that subvert marginalized people and the neoliberal practice of hiding and targeting specific groups forcing them to bear responsibility for their disenfranchisement.

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Case Study
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Transportation Hubs
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