Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Colby Access Only)


Colby College. American Studies Program


Laura Saltz

Second Advisor

Ben Lisle


This thesis examines the structural and racial consequences of gentrification in the South End of Boston. In the wake of the 2016 election, northern liberal cities have emerged into a moment of self-reflection. Boston, being one of them, votes overwhelmingly democratic. The city’s political ideology and rhetoric reflect a liberal ideology of inclusion, yet the city is incredibly stratified--but why? Much of this has to do with historically ingrained inequalities, but I argue, continues due to neoliberal development, culture, and gentrification in the South End of Boston. Neoliberalism is repackaged and plays out in different and distinct ways in many increasingly globalized cities, and it is important to examine the rhetoric and policies that go along with each case. As Boston is often not examined through a neoliberal lens, it is important to analyze how neoliberalism repackages itself in the South End, specifically through systematic racial and socioeconomic exclusion that is represented through urban policy, development, and culture. Throughout this work, I seek to answer questions about the seemingly disproportionate promises of a democratic government, to the social segmentation that takes place in practice in Boston. What is contradictory about promises of inclusion, and inclusion in practice? And what are the consequences of these contradictions? It is imperative that the elite educated class remain cognizant of self-reflection, and to point out the contradictions between moral rhetoric and the hegemonic ongoings of everyday life.


Boston, South End, Gentrification, Social Stratification, Social Segmentation, Neoliberalism