Places of Privileged Consumption Practices: Spatial Capital, the Dot-Com Habitus, and San Francisco's Internet Boom

Authors


*Correspondence should be addressed to Ryan Centner, 115 Eaton Hall, Department of Sociology, Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155; ryan.centner@tufts.edu.

Abstract

Drawing from interviews and fieldwork with former dot-com workers in San Francisco, this article examines how their spatialized consumption practices formed exclusionary places of privilege during the city's millennial boom of internet companies. I focus especially on the personalized deployment of uneven social power in situations where space is at stake. After considering how this group differed from a history of other urban newcomers, I develop a framework for addressing their spatial effects as gentrification involving privileged consumption practices that surpass residential encroachments. I argue there is an exertion of spatial capital that represents the misrecognition of territorial claims, enabling this cohort to literally take place. I show this through several consumption practices that convert to and from economic, cultural, and social capital. A concluding discussion reflects on the usefulness of this case and framework for reinvigorating key urban-sociological analytics while confronting influential but unsociological characterizations of contemporary city life.

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