Emerging in the post–World War II suburban boom, the outdoor swap meet has long been an economic and cultural institution in Southern California. Much like a flea market, the swap meet draws vendors and consumers for bargain prices and diverse products. But the swap meet is not just where vendors peddle their wares. In this case study of the San Fernando Swap Meet, one of Southern California’s largest and longest running swap meets, the massive outdoor space transforms into a vibrant suburban community. Since the late 1960s, as an influx of immigrants, especially Latinx migrants, settled in Southern California, the outdoor swap meet has become not just a cornerstone of working-class community but also a site of migrant belonging. One of just a few scholarly studies to explore this dynamic space and industry, this article explores how immigrants, predominantly undocumented migrants, have forged strong ties to one another and adapted to life in metropolitan Los Angeles during the neoliberal age.

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