Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Seo Young Park

Reader 2

Georgia Hartman


the contradictions of inclusion/exclusion and community are visibly played out within independent bookstores, which work to foster a sense of community for customers and staff through local involvement and shared values. In this way, a sense of community is created not only in the space of bookstores but also by the space. Through the particular curation of the store, its space comes to embody individual values and political positions. Highly curated spaces which facilitate the dissemination of knowledge and information, independent bookstores are also retail spaces which are not traditionally seen as sources of community. As both retail spaces and social/community spaces, the independent bookstores in the greater Seattle area illustrate the multidimensional character of community and the inevitable exclusion which, rather than contradicting the notion of community, is inherently a part of community. Drawing boundaries creates exclusion, which are necessary in defining community. Customers and booksellers both experience variations of exclusion, and the unstable access to community it produces. This is the paradox of community. The customers and booksellers experiencing the instability that accompanies a community located within retail are also those whom the survival of independent bookstores matters to because it is within these spaces that they identify community, connect with others, and exchange ideas.