Beers, Bars, and Bad Behavior
This chapter continues the examination of social perceptions of disorder. To an outsider passing through the neighborhood, Riverwest’s numerous bars, pronounced public drinking and seeming tolerance of public intoxication may be seen as cause for concern. However, residents’ perceptions of local drinking establishments and activities are more varied. Bars can be serious trouble spots or valued amenities. Those with visible addictions can be nuisances or accepted neighbors. Porch drinking can degrade the neighborhood’s reputation or signal a vibrant public life. Definitions of uncivil or out-of-place practices are embedded in constructions of cultural membership and social distance. This chapter demonstrates how Riverwest residents’ sense of who and what belong in the neighborhood is shaped by their accumulated experiences and situated in residents’ framing of the neighborhood and its trajectory. The chapter concludes with a consideration of the consequences of these collective perceptions of “disorder” for neighborhood engagement, investment, and stability.
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