The High Plains Society
Applied Anthropology

Cultural Pluralism and Constructed Space: Two Corner Stores in the Lykins Neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri, USA

Molly DesBaillets

This article examines business space in a culturally plural neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri. Business space is constructed in socially and symbolically meaningful ways to embody both the personal identities of owners and their relationships to the community. Material culture illuminates socially constructed space that bespeaks differences in inclusive and exclusive relations toward customers and the community. Space is also symbolically constructed, material representation of owners’ cultural heritage, and that of the historical neighborhood culture, provides insight about the bicultural identity of store owners. Constructed space offers meaningful insight about the structure of everyday interethnic interaction. Analysis of material culture is an important means by which to understand the cultural, economic, and social fiber of diverse urban contexts. Examination of constructed space in culturally diverse neighborhoods is a means to understand differential cultural invocation and the relationship between business owners, their clientele, and the broader community.

The Applied Anthropologist, No. 1, Vol. 28, 2008, pp 98 - 104

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