Into the Literature – Research Update #3

After a deeper dive into the results of my review of published local opinions on potential affordable housing projects revealed an important trend regarding attitudes toward individuals facing housing insecurity, I began to explore already existing literature on related subjects to broaden my understanding. One of the most immediate and important topics that came to my attention through this literature review was that of neoliberalism as a politico-economic system and its rise to prominence over the last century. Central to neoliberal doctrine is the celebration of individual achievement, with the underlying expectation that those who have garnered success have done so through dedication and personal will. Such a premise is particularly relevant to my findings because, as discussed in previous blog posts, most opinions on affordable housing use terminology surrounding employment status to justify whether or not new developments are deserved. In other words, a person may merit stable housing only if they contribute to the local economy via productive labor. Through my research, I hope to further explore and theorize how neoliberalism–which is often discussed solely in terms of broad-reaching economics–becomes reproduced between individuals, and how this may influence the ways in which people value one another.

Furthermore, the settings of Williamsburg and James City County (JCC) provide an additional angle worth examining in the form of a deeply rooted and highly celebrated colonial history. Within a space so dedicated to maintaining the feel and aesthetic of the colonial era, it is likely that the ways in which the past is framed and presented here plays a role in constructing the modern area resident. By extension, Williamsburg’s historic progression from settlement to established city is, in many ways, a small scale representation of the United States as a whole. Understanding┬áthe parallels between this locality and the nation┬ámore generally is a necessary component of my research if I intend to produce critical literature that can exist beyond the confines of Williamsburg/JCC proper.

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