The discursive construction of moral agents among Spanish-speaking Latin American retailers in Elephant & Castle

Marquez Reiter, R. and Patiño-Santos, A. (2017). The discursive construction of moral agents among Spanish-speaking Latin American retailers in Elephant & Castle. Tilburg Papers in Cultural Studies(194)

URL: https://www.tilburguniversity.edu/research/institu...

Abstract

This article examines the migratory experiences and the perceptions of community reported
in interviews with two successful Spanish-speaking Latin American retailers based in
Elephant and Castle (Southwark, London) in light of the regeneration of the area and the
displacement of many of the principally Latin American small businesses and local residents
therein.
A general discourse analysis of how they construct themselves as moral migrant agents
relative to their co-ethnics at such a critical moment highlights that one of the norms on
which this community appears to be based holds that the best action is one that maximizes
personal gain, and that community relations are primarily forged by the personally beneficial
consequences of members’ actions towards themselves and one another.
Although the interviewees migrated for primarily economic reasons and the area
revitalization is likely to be financially beneficial to them, at least in the short-term, the
socioeconomic threats faced by many of its members would, in theory, act as a catalyst for
community solidification. Instead, a picture of a fragmented community emerges.
The article contributes to our understanding of a relatively unexplored ethnic community
within the diversity of London by reporting one-sided perceptions of the norms on which it is
based.

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