A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘globalization

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

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  • James Bow shares his photos from Airport Road.
  • Centauri Dreams reports on a SETI candi9date signal form a nearby star in Hercules.
  • Far Outliers reports on how the Japanese named ships.
  • Joe. My. God. quotes one Trump backer, Roger Stone, about his desire to move to Costa Rica to escape Muslims if Hillary wins.
  • Noel Maurer debunks the Maine governor’s provably false claims about the race and ethnicity of people arrested in his state on drug charges.
  • Otto Pohl considers the relationships of the Kurds to the wider world.
  • Language Hat notes the discovery of a new, different Etruscan-language text.
  • Window on Eurasia argues that the Russian war in Ukraine is setting the stage for a second round of the Russian empire’s dissolution, and argues that Muscovy’s sack of Novgorod set the stage for Western-Russian suspicions.

[URBAN NOTE] “A seat at the bar: Issues of race and class in the world of specialty coffee”

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Savage Minds hosts an essay by William Cotter and Mary-Caitlyn Valentinsson looking at the cultural and ethical complexities of specialty coffee.

If you’re in academia, you probably have a very close relationship with coffee. For most Americans, coffee feels like a necessary part of our day, crucial to our higher-order cognitive functioning. Coffee has been a staple in American households and workplaces for over 100 years, and coffee as a commodity is one of the most widely traded and profitable items on the international market (Pendergrast 1999). In early 19th century, coffee served as a strong index for the elite classes of American society. It was expensive, often challenging to obtain, and was consumed primarily within prestigious social circles. However, the increasing reach of white European imperialism and the fine-tuning of the mechanisms of colonial trade and exploitation led to such resources becoming accessible to a wider range of consumers. In less than a century, the notion of coffee as a beverage consumed in the drawing rooms of the upper crust eroded. Coffee instead became a ubiquitous fixture of the American working class, tied to notions of cheery productivity and the booming prosperity of the American labor force (Jimenez 1995).

Despite the place of coffee as a common fixture in the American psyche, there is an accumulation of evidence to suggest that the social meaning of coffee is again shifting. Today, it seems that coffee is being enregistered (Agha 2003), or is coming to be seen as, a symbol of a “higher class” America. But instead of the narrowly defined American elite of the past, coffee, and specifically “specialty” or “craft” coffee, is becoming an increasingly important part of the “yuppie”, “hipster” experience. Craft coffee in the United States is an industry of skilled artisans, focused on delivering handmade products to their communities. This reorientation in the American coffee industry towards a more craft-focused ideal is closely tied to the emergence and growth of independent micro-roasters and coffee shops that offer a “local”, community-centered alternative to the mass market coffee franchises that have until recently dominated the landscape of American coffee consumption (Roseberry 1996).

But specialty coffee, like other craft industries in the United States, comes with a high price tag. While the $.99 cup of coffee still exists, the world of specialty coffee is limited to those who can economically participate in the industry by paying $5 or more for a cup of coffee. This conspicuous consumption indexes an investment in not just the coffee itself, but also in how the coffee is grown, harvested, roasted, and brewed. At the same time, consumption of specialty coffee reifies the divide between the $.99 cup of coffee and the $5 cup of coffee. This is one way in which forms of stratification tied to wider issues of race and class in the United States become concrete.

The physical spaces that specialty coffee shops and roasters occupy play an important role in the wider landscape of the industry. In many cases, specialty coffee storefronts are opening their doors in urban areas undergoing gentrification. The white yuppies and hipsters at the vanguard of these changes hold an economic status that makes a five dollar cup of coffee affordable, something that in many cases cannot be said for the historical residents of these areas.

The symbiosis between the consumption-based desires of this new upper-middle class and the services provided by the specialty coffee industry creates a situation in which craft industries feed off these larger urban development projects. Gentrification encourages new specialty establishments. At the same time, the existence and proliferation of specialty coffee, in these locations, further encourages gentrification through the availability of the commodities that the new upper-middle class feel they “need”.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 25, 2016 at 6:15 pm

[NEWS] Some Wednesday links

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  • Bloomberg talks about Poland’s problems with economic growth, notes that McMansions are poor investments, considers what to do about the Olympics post-Rio, looks at new Japanese tax incentives for working women, looks at a French war museum that put its stock up for sale, examines the power of the New Zealand dairy, looks at the Yasukuni controversies, and notes Huawei’s progress in China.
  • Bloomberg View is hopeful for Brazil, argues demographics are dooming Abenomics, suggests ways for the US to pit Russia versus Iran, looks at Chinese fisheries and the survival of the ocean, notes that high American population growth makes the post-2008 economic recovery relatively less notable, looks at Emperor Akihito’s opposition to Japanese remilitarization, and argues that Europe’s soft response to terrorism is not a weakness.
  • CBC notes that Russian doping whistleblowers fear for their lives, looks at how New Brunswick farmers are adapting to climate change, and looks at how Neanderthals’ lack of facility with tools may have doomed them.
  • The Globe and Mail argues Ontario should imitate Michigan instead of Québec, notes the new Anne of Green Gables series on Netflix, and predicts good things for Tim Horton’s in the Philippines.
  • The Guardian notes that Canada’s impending deal with the European Union is not any model for the United Kingdom.
  • The Inter Press Service looks at child executions in Iran.
  • MacLean’s notes that Great Lakes mayors have joined to challenge a diversion of water from their shared basin.
  • National Geographic looks at the elephant ivory trade, considers the abstract intelligence of birds, considers the Mayan calendar’s complexities, and looks at how the young generation treats Pluto’s dwarf planet status.
  • The National Post notes that VIA Rail is interested in offering a low-cost bus route along the Highway of Tears in northern British Columbia.
  • Open Democracy notes that the last Russian prisoner in Guantanamo does not want to go home, and wonders why the West ignores the Rwandan dictatorship.
  • TVO considers how rural communities can attract immigrants.
  • Universe Today suggests sending our digital selves to the stars, looks at how cirrus clouds kept early Mars warm and wet, and notes the discovery of an early-forming direct-collapse black hole.
  • Variance Explained looks at how Donald Trump’s tweets clearly show two authors at work.
  • The Washignton Post considers what happens when a gay bar becomes a bar with more general appeal.
  • Wired notes that the World Wide Web still is far from achieving its founders’ dreams, looks at how news apps are dying off, and reports on the Univision purchase of Gawker.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • Anthropology.net notes that schizophrenia is not an inheritance from the Neanderthals.
  • D-Brief notes a recent study of nova V1213 Cen that drew on years of observation.
  • Dangerous Minds shares a Simple Minds show from 1979.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog argues in favour of educating people about how they consume.
  • Far Outliers notes the mid-12th century Puebloan diaspora and the arrival of the Navajo.
  • Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen reports on the Faroe Islands.
  • The Planetary Society Blog notes the impending launch of the OSIRIS-REx probe.
  • Spacing Toronto examines through an interview the idea of artivism.
  • Strange Maps notes the need to update the map of Louisiana.
  • Torontoist introduces its new daily newsletters.
  • Understanding Society examines liberalism’s relationship with hate-based extremism.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that Russians are concerned about their country’s post-Ukraine isolation but not enough to do anything about it, and looks at the generation gap across the former Soviet space.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • blogTO describes how Parkdale’s Harry’s diner is going to be revamped.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly describes the joys of making friends through the blogosphere.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at Kuiper Belt object Niku and its strange orbit.
  • The Map Room Blog looks at the controversy over Google’s map of Palestine.
  • Marginal Revolution notes how Faroese women leave their home islands at a disproportionately high rate.
  • Peter Rukavina describes time spent with his son kayaking Charlottetown harbour.
  • Strange Maps depicts the shift of the global economic centre of the world.
  • Window on Eurasia describes the decay of provincial Karelia.

[NEWS] Some Tuesday links

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  • Bloomberg notes a raid of Amazon’s Japan office by that country’s competition agency.
  • Bloomberg View looks at paranoia about Pokémon Go and suggests China is not trying to overturn the world order.
  • CBC reports on the popular music and dance of Brazil’s slums, and reports on the diet of ancient humans.
  • The Inter Press Service notes that African farmers could feed the world, but first they need to work on their infrastructure.
  • MacLean’s shares the images of 25 Canadian websites of note in the days of the early Internet.
  • Open Democracy calls for reform of British agricultural funding and reports on Venezuela’s hard landing.

[NEWS] Some Monday links

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  • ABC reports on the Sudanese-Australian basketball players who are transforming the game in Australia.
  • Bloomberg reports on the potentially transformative scope of China’s New Silk Road project.
  • Bloomberg View likes the new Star Trek movie’s shift beyond speciesism.
  • CBC reports on the strength of pro-Trump support among non-voting Amish in Pennsylvania, and looks at a VIA Rail proposal to set up a commuter run in Halifax.
  • Gizmodo reports on Florida’s disastrous coastal algal infestations.
  • The Globe and Mail notes a proposal for Ontario-Michigan cooperation and recounts the story of the construction of the Rideau Canal.
  • The Guardian reports on Catalonia’s swift progress towards a declaration of independence.
  • MacLean’s describes Manitoba’s falling crime rate.
  • Open Democracy wonders about Italy’s Five Star Movement and looks at the newest African-American hashtag movements.
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