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The Perpetuation of Neighborhood Reputation: An Interactionist Approach

Symbolic Interaction

Published online on

Abstract

How is neighborhood reputation performed and reproduced? Drawing on ethnographic observation in a Philadelphia neighborhood known for stable racial integration, I show how residents engage in Goffmanian interactional teamwork, particularly deference‚Äźdemeanor rituals, that perpetuate the neighborhood's reputation. My observations demonstrate how the ideology of racial integration is collectively performed and maintained through these deference rituals. I show that these deference rituals can also have the unintended and undesirable consequence of maintaining, rather than challenging, preexisting racial hierarchies. This work highlights the tenuous nature of reputations for inclusivity in the face of persistent social inequality.