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Doing the TownThe Rise of Urban Tourism in the United States, 1850-1915$
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Catherine Cocks

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780520227460

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520227460.001.0001

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Conclusion: A Nice Place to Visit

Conclusion: A Nice Place to Visit

(p.204) Conclusion: A Nice Place to Visit
Doing the Town

Catherine Cocks

University of California Press

This chapter talks about the separation of spheres and the elaborate etiquette of refinement that seemed prudish rather than prudent to many well-to-do Americans in the early twentieth century. The old sociospatial ideal impeded the cultural economy much as small local or regional businesses impeded the continuing growth of the market. Increasingly, a reformed middle class founded its identity on forms of cultural capital that did not rely as much on personal networks and local customs so central to refinement. The range of acceptable difference was limited, and was accompanied by dehumanizing stereotypes and the aestheticization of poverty. But the social distance that tourism drew on and encouraged did open up a space in which cultural differences became desirable for well-to-do white Americans. Urban tourism depended on the commodification and elaboration of hierarchically ranked differences, yet it also facilitated a kind of cultural pluralism not often found in the mid-nineteenth century.

Keywords:   well to do, old sociospatial ideal, dehumanizing stereotypes, aestheticization of poverty, white Americans, urban tourism

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