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'Elective Affiliations' examines how walking tour guides manage to transmit cultural information, engage in the public imagination, and impart a method of urban investigation their participants while still occupying a place in-between formal institutions, social networks, and labor markets. Drawing from five-years of ethnographic data, guides are presented as living and succeeding in the 'interstitial' areas of cities, and are forced to negotiate the tension between structural autonomy and the legitimations arising from affiliation with cultural institutions. Walking guides are successful at their endeavors because of their ever-changing set of interrelationships, not in spite of them. 'Elective Affiliations' brings empirical evidence from the intersection of urbanism, tourism, and culture, and recent work on social capital and networks to recent issues of urban cultural policy.