This article examines how Philadelphia’s emergent middle class—young, urbane, educated, and overwhelmingly white—digests the gentrifying multiethnic city. Drawing on Yelp reviews of South Philadelphia’s Mexican restaurants, it deconstructs their conflicting ideas about “authenticity.” Naming the authentic has an important social function for these consumers: by exhibiting their cross-cultural literacy and cosmopolitan tastes, Yelpers signal their belonging to and mastery of the diverse city. By categorizing what is “really Mexican,” this article suggests, they solidify their status as self-styled urban adventurers.
Keywords:gentrification, ethnicity, authenticity, Mexican cuisine, Philadelphia, Yelp, social media
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