This chapter examines discourses of community as well as contradictory discourses of isolation that arose within the lofts. While references to community involvement were quite common, the symbolic boundaries that defined and demarcated loft communities were often described in highly divergent ways. The chapter begins with a survey of several scholarly models for conceptualizing collectivity before proceeding to outline four boundary discourses that were referenced most frequently by loft artists—discourses of pay, play, place, and race. Although conceiving of the lofts as a community provides certain beliefs, it concludes by attempting to reframe the period in terms of network- and scene-based theoretical approaches, arguing that each model offers potential insights.
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