Literature review

LITERATURE REVIEW:  Henri Lefebvre comes to mind: there is no such thing as empty space (Lefebvre), to which in order to understand  what is not there, it is important to look at other components that are present. In order to understand what makes these sorts of restaurants so meaningful and unique, it is important to look at how space is utilized, as well as the whole Latino vernacular ascetics, through which I chose to include the term Rasquachismo. Furthermore, it is also important to acknowledge the lack how other scholars view different components of this research, in order to establish  a more nuanced  representation of this community. The plaza plays a central role in the Latino American culture, it is a place in which individuals congregate on a daily basis. The range of activities that take place on these public spaces are not limited to people watching, selling of elotes, cotton candy, or activities such as shoe polishing. The significance of these places in the Latin-American countries is the sense of community that they create, which can also be said about the informal restaurants that I observed.  According to Setha Low, “the social construction of space is the actual transformation of space-through people’s social exchanges”(Low), which in this case I argue that the front yard in a Latino house becomes a plaza-like environment, due to the social interactions take place while these Rasquache restaurants operate. Before we look at what constitutes the rasquache ascetic, we must first define the term. Rasquache, according to Dr. Ybarra-Frausto  can be defined as doing the best with the means you have available (Ybarra-Frausto). For example, reusing butter containers to store salsa or refried beans. And it is the rasquache ascetic of the objects used to prepare a meal that gives the authenticity to be categorized as “home cooked” meals. All this ties back into what James Rojas calls “the ‘Mexicanization’ of space in the suburbs”(Rojas), which combined with the concept of the plaza and the interactions that occur on private spaces give a cultural identity to these informal businesses. 

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December 15, 2019