The Urban Communication Reader III
Edited By Matthew D. Matsaganis, Victoria J. Gallagher and Susan J. Drucker
9 Locating Nihonmachi: Urban Erasure, Memory, and Visibility in Japantown, USA
Urban Place and Immigrant Space
Urban Erasure, Memory, and Visibility In Japantown, USA*
Janis L. Edwards
Community is a key term in the interdisciplinary area of urban communication research. As urban communication focuses on communication change, this chapter considers change in the geographic and symbolic aspects of urban communication study. Urban communication studies stem from a set of paradigms that, in practice, highlight two concerns: the effects of media technologies in shaping and defining urban environments, and the symbolic aspects of cultural geography as translated to urban/suburban spaces. Each is concerned with communication patterns. Although issues of emergent communication technology as a mechanism for “augmented public space” have dominated the discussion, the function of “traditional” (pre-technological) cities, as Gumpert and Drucker (2007) have reminded us, is still crucial to understanding cities as places of community and common interest. Communities are “living organisms—self-maintaining, self-renewing, and self-transcending” (Barwind & Walters, 2007, p.194), but not intertwined in all ways with systems of advanced communication technologies. My concern with community in this chapter is one of the transformative power of memory in terms of place and place-identity. Like such scholars as Carragee (2007) and LaWare and Gallagher (2007), I address the traditional and geographic aspects of specific city places in order to tease out the dynamics ← 175 | 176 → of memory and the practices of commemoration and their impact on defining communities.
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