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Barbershop or Barber Shop?: A Black Commercial Public Sphere

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Abstract:

Democratic spaces tend to belong to the people, and the traditional view of black barber shops is no exception. Yet, traditional discussions of black barber shops posit a very static public space where black men gather and engage in collective discourse. These discussions emphasize the modern “barbershop” which centers the social interactions of customers instead of the “barber shop” which centers the craftsmanship of the barber. In this paper, I bring the barber back into the picture for a more comprehensive look into what I call a black commercial public sphere. I argue that black barbers, patrons, and waiting publics made up a commercial public sphere where social, political, and economic autonomy facilitated democratic engagement and the imaginings of a racial economy. To examine the idea of a black commercial public sphere in barber shops, I will explore three points: service production and consumption; civil rights activism; and the meanings of integration. Black barber shops, like beauty shops, while small in size, have historically empowered African Americans economically, socially, and politically
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Association:
Name: 95th Annual Convention
URL:
http://www.asalh.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p435652_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Mills, Quincy. "Barbershop or Barber Shop?: A Black Commercial Public Sphere" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 95th Annual Convention, Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh, North Carolina, <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p435652_index.html>

APA Citation:

Mills, Q. T. "Barbershop or Barber Shop?: A Black Commercial Public Sphere" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 95th Annual Convention, Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh, North Carolina <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p435652_index.html

Publication Type: Invited Paper
Abstract: Democratic spaces tend to belong to the people, and the traditional view of black barber shops is no exception. Yet, traditional discussions of black barber shops posit a very static public space where black men gather and engage in collective discourse. These discussions emphasize the modern “barbershop” which centers the social interactions of customers instead of the “barber shop” which centers the craftsmanship of the barber. In this paper, I bring the barber back into the picture for a more comprehensive look into what I call a black commercial public sphere. I argue that black barbers, patrons, and waiting publics made up a commercial public sphere where social, political, and economic autonomy facilitated democratic engagement and the imaginings of a racial economy. To examine the idea of a black commercial public sphere in barber shops, I will explore three points: service production and consumption; civil rights activism; and the meanings of integration. Black barber shops, like beauty shops, while small in size, have historically empowered African Americans economically, socially, and politically


Similar Titles:
Nostalgia and Liberalism in the Black Public Sphere: Jackie Robinson and the Crisis of the Black Athlete

Razors, Rights, and Paradoxical Publics: Black Barber Shops and the Civil Rights Act of 1875

“We Cut Heads”: The Black Barbershop as a Public Sphere.

Children in the Public Sphere: Black Girls' Performance of Citizenship in Public Schools


 
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