Abstract

Latina/o cultural studies underexamines the work of designers, even as urban design, architecture, and graphic design are increasingly marketed to appeal to Latina/o tastes in housing, commercial packaging, and other consumer goods. This article explores the work of the designer Pablo Medina to expand this scholarship but also to understand how designers negotiate cultural expression with the socioeconomic particularities of places across the hemisphere. This barrio-inspired design varies from previous barrio culture dialectically produced by discriminatory US urban policies and Latina/o grassroots organizing, reminding Latina/o and American studies scholars to consider the socioeconomically poor barrio as a contemporary hemispheric place whose cultural values and visuality are shaped by global policies, elitist interests, and design culture, professionals, and industries. To illuminate recent changes to barrio cultural production this article introduces the term barrio affinity, a scopic regime that values and frames marginal urban spaces to dually celebrate actual barrios and abstract the place and culture to which it refers.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6490
Print ISSN
0003-0678
Pages
pp. 529-548
Launched on MUSE
2014-09-08
Open Access
No
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