Muscles, motorcycles and tattoos: Gentrification in a new frontier

Karen Bettez Halnon, Saundra Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Elaborating on previous work on Poor Chic, this article opens new empirical terrain for gentrification theory by demonstrating how gentrification processes are applicable to 'symbolic neighborhoods' in popular culture. Challenging postmodernist-spirited lifestyle consumption theory that asserts the breakdown of stratification systems through consumer habits, the article delineates how three important 'symbolic neighborhoods of lower class masculinity' - muscles, motorcycles, and tattoos - have been transformed from lower- to middle-class distinction. Framing these recent changes as investment, invasion, transformation and displacement, the article illustrates how apparent tolerance and fluidity among consumer lifestyles is less reflective of the obliteration of stratification systems than a new strategic means of reconstructing them. Particular attention is focused on Bourdieu's multi-faceted conceptualization of 'cultural capital' and the victorious application of 'aesthetic disposition'.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-56
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Consumer Culture
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Social Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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