Education, employment, and home ownership have long been considered stepping stones to the middle class. But in Abandoned Families, social policy expert Kristin Seefeldt shows how many working families have access only to a separate but unequal set of poor-quality jobs, low-performing schools, and declining housing markets which offer few chances for upward mobility. Through in-depth interviews over a six-year period with women in Detroit, Seefeldt charts the increasing social isolation of many low-income workers, particularly African Americans, and analyzes how economic and residential segregation keep them from achieving the American Dream of upward mobility.
Seefeldt explores the economic and political obstacles that have altered the pathways for opportunity. She finds that while many low-income individuals work, enroll in higher education, and attempt to use social safety net benefits in times of crisis, they primarily have access to subpar institutions, which often hamper their efforts to get ahead. Many of these workers hold unstable, low-paying service sector jobs that provide few paths for advancement and exacerbate their social isolation. Those who pursue higher education to gain qualifications for better paying jobs often enroll in for-profit schools and online programs that push them into debt but rarely lead to secure employment or even a degree. And while home ownership was once the best way to establish wealth, Seefeldt finds that in declining cities like Detroit, it can saddle low-income owners with underwater mortgages in depopulated neighborhoods. Finally, she shows that the 1996 federal welfare reform and other retrenchments in the social safety net have made it more difficult for struggling families to access public benefits that could alleviate their economic hardships. When benefits are difficult to access, families often take on debt as a way of managing. Taken together, these factors contribute to what Seefeldt calls the “social abandonment” of vulnerable families.
Abandoned Families is a timely, on-the-ground assessment of hardship in contemporary America. Seefeldt exposes the shortcomings of the institutions that once fostered upward mobility and shows how sweeping policy measures—including new labor protections, expansion of the social safety net, increased regulation of for-profit colleges, and reparations—could help lift up those who have fallen behind.
Abracadabra: A Novel
David Kranes University of Nevada Press, 2017 Library of Congress PS3561.R26A63 2017 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Abracadabra is a fantastical and inventive addition to the tradition of noir writing, which not only delights and surprises at every turn but also raises important questions about identity, the human condition, the nature of evil, and the state of the union. The novel begins with a mystery, when Mark Goodson, a seemingly well-adjusted married man, disappears during a magic act, precipitating a series of events, encounters, and seemingly inexplicable occurrences, which it falls to a former professional football player, Elko Wells, to weave together into a story that is at once compelling and true. The concussion that ended Wells’ playing career left him open to hearing voices and discerning patterns of meaning helpful to his work as the owner of a missing-persons agency. He also owns a celebrity look-alike agency, which complicates matters in humorous ways, and his reliance on a string of cocktail waitresses called the Bloody Marys who are on the lookout for various people adds another level of intrigue.
Magicians and misdirection, gambling, down-on-one’s-luck, the crazed sense of possibility and impossibility, mistaken identity, impersonators and body doubles, people acting bizarrely with all sorts of chaos, collisions, and overlaps thrown in for good measure. Again and again the reader is swept into treacherous waters, always confident that the writer is in control of his material. Because the many twists and turns the plot takes are all but impossible to anticipate, the experience of reading Abracadabra is deliciously magical.
For the addicted, pregnant, and poor women living in daily-rent hotels in San Francisco's Mission district, life is marked by battles against drug cravings, housing debt, and potential violence. In this stunning ethnography Kelly Ray Knight presents these women in all their complex humanity and asks what kinds of futures are possible for them given their seemingly hopeless situation. During her four years of fieldwork Knight documented women’s struggles as they traveled from the street to the clinic, jail, and family court, and back to the hotels. She approaches addicted pregnancy as an everyday phenomenon in these women's lives and describes how they must navigate the tension between pregnancy's demands to stay clean and the pull of addiction and poverty toward drug use and sex work. By creating the space for addicted women's own narratives and examining addicted pregnancy from medical, policy, and social science perspectives, Knight forces us to confront and reconsider the ways we think about addiction, trauma, health, criminality, and responsibility.
Protestors across the world use aesthetics in order to communicate their ideas and ensure their voices are heard. This book looks at protest aesthetics, which we consider to be the visual and performative elements of protest, such as images, symbols, graffiti, art, as well as the choreography of protest actions in public spaces. Through the use of social media, protestors have been able to create an alternative space for people to engage with politics that is more inclusive and participatory than traditional politics. This volume focuses on the role of visual culture in a highly mediated environment and draws on case studies from Europe, Thailand, South Africa, USA, Argentina, and the Middle East in order to demonstrate how protestors use aesthetics to communicate their demands and ideas. It examines how digital media is harnessed by protestors and argues that all protest aesthetics are performative and communicative.
Historians have devoted surprisingly little attention to African American urban history ofthe postwar period, especially compared with earlier decades. Correcting this imbalance, African American Urban History since World War II features an exciting mix of seasoned scholars and fresh new voices whose combined efforts provide the first comprehensive assessment of this important subject.
The first of this volume’s five groundbreaking sections focuses on black migration and Latino immigration, examining tensions and alliances that emerged between African Americans and other groups. Exploring the challenges of residential segregation and deindustrialization, later sections tackle such topics as the real estate industry’s discriminatory practices, the movement of middle-class blacks to the suburbs, and the influence of black urban activists on national employment and social welfare policies. Another group of contributors examines these themes through the lens of gender, chronicling deindustrialization’s disproportionate impact on women and women’s leading roles in movements for social change. Concluding with a set of essays on black culture and consumption, this volume fully realizes its goal of linking local transformations with the national and global processes that affect urban class and race relations.
Niq Mhlongo Ohio University Press, 2011 Library of Congress PR9369.4.M48A38 2011 | Dewey Decimal 823.92
Bafana Kuzwayo is a young man with a weight on his shoulders. After flunking his law studies at the University of Cape Town, he returns home to Soweto, where he must decide how to break the news to his family. But before he can confess, he is greeted as a hero by family and friends. His uncle calls him “Advo,” short for Advocate, and his mother wastes no time recruiting him to solve their legal problems. In a community that thrives on imagined realities, Bafana decides that it’s easiest to create a lie that allows him to put off the truth indefinitely. Soon he’s in business with Yomi, a Nigerian friend who promises to help him solve all his problems by purchasing a fake graduation document. One lie leads to another as Bafana navigates through a world that readers will find both funny and grim.
Sound transformed British life in the "age of noise" between 1914 and 1945. The sonic maelstrom of mechanized society bred anger and anxiety and even led observers to forecast the end of civilization. The noise was, as James G. Mansell shows, modernity itself, expressed in aural form, with immense implications for the construction of the self. Tracing the ideas, feelings, and representations prompted by life in early twentieth century Britain, Mansell examines how and why sound shaped the self. He works at the crux of cultural and intellectual history, analyzing the meanings that were attached to different types of sound, who created these typologies and why, and how these meanings connected to debates about modernity. From traffic noise to air raids, everyday sounds elicited new ways of thinking about being modern. Each individual negotiated his or her own subjective meanings through hopes or fears for sound. As Mansell considers the different ways Britons heard their world, he reveals why we must take sound into account in our studies of cultural and social history.
Between the early 1900s and the late 1950s, the attitudes of white Californians toward their Asian American neighbors evolved from outright hostility to relative acceptance. Charlotte Brooks examines this transformation through the lens of California’s urban housing markets, arguing that the perceived foreignness of Asian Americans, which initially stranded them in segregated areas, eventually facilitated their integration into neighborhoods that rejected other minorities.
Against the backdrop of cold war efforts to win Asian hearts and minds, whites who saw little difference between Asians and Asian Americans increasingly advocated the latter group’s access to middle-class life and the residential areas that went with it. But as they transformed Asian Americans into a “model minority,” whites purposefully ignored the long backstory of Chinese and Japanese Americans’ early and largely failed attempts to participate in public and private housing programs. As Brooks tells this multifaceted story, she draws on a broad range of sources in multiple languages, giving voice to an array of community leaders, journalists, activists, and homeowners—and insightfully conveying the complexity of racialized housing in a multiracial society.
“Perhaps,” wrote Ralph Ellison more than seventy years ago, “the zoot suit contains profound political meaning; perhaps the symmetrical frenzy of the Lindy-hop conceals clues to great potential power.” As Ellison noted then, many of our most mundane cultural forms are larger and more important than they appear, taking on great significance and an unexpected depth of meaning. What he saw in the power of the Lindy Hop—the dance that Life magazine once billed as “America’s True National Folk Dance”—would spread from black America to make a lasting impression on white America and offer us a truly compelling means of understanding our culture. But with what hidden implications?
In American Allegory, Black Hawk Hancock offers an embedded and embodied ethnography that situates dance within a larger Chicago landscape of segregated social practices. Delving into two Chicago dance worlds, the Lindy and Steppin’, Hancock uses a combination of participant-observation and interviews to bring to the surface the racial tension that surrounds white use of black cultural forms. Focusing on new forms of appropriation in an era of multiculturalism, Hancock underscores the institutionalization of racial disparities and offers wonderful insights into the intersection of race and culture in America.
Drawing on original research from medical texts, psychiatric case histories, pioneering statistical surveys, first-person accounts, legal cases, sensationalist journalism, and legislative debates, Jennifer Terry has written a nuanced and textured history of how the century-old obsession with homosexuality is deeply tied to changing American anxieties about social and sexual order in the modern age.
Terry's overarching argument is compelling: that homosexuality served as a marker of the "abnormal" against which malleable, tenuous, and often contradictory concepts of the "normal" were defined. One of the few histories to take into consideration homosexuality in both women and men, Terry's work also stands out in its refusal to erase the agency of people classified as abnormal. She documents the myriad ways that gays, lesbians, and other sexual minorities have coauthored, resisted, and transformed the most powerful and authoritative modern truths about sex. Proposing this history as a "useable past," An American Obsession is an indispensable contribution to the study of American cultural history.
Sudhir Alladi VENKATESH Harvard University Press, 2000 Library of Congress HD7288.78.U52C476 2000 | Dewey Decimal 363.5850977311
High-rise public housing developments were signature features of the post-World War II city. A hopeful experiment in providing temporary, inexpensive housing for all Americans, the "projects" soon became synonymous with the black urban poor, with isolation and overcrowding, with drugs, gang violence, and neglect. As the wrecking ball brings down some of these concrete monoliths, Sudhir Venkatesh seeks to reexamine public housing from the inside out, and to salvage its troubled legacy.
Dissecting twenty years of educational politics in our nation’s largest cities, American School Reform offers one of the clearest assessments of school reform as it has played out in our recent history. Joseph P. McDonald and his colleagues evaluate the half-billion-dollar Annenberg Challenge—launched in 1994—alongside other large-scale reform efforts that have taken place in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and the San Francisco Bay Area. They look deeply at what school reform really is, how it works, how it fails, and what differences it can make nonetheless.
McDonald and his colleagues lay out several interrelated ideas in what they call a theory of action space. Frequently education policy gets so ambitious that implementing it becomes a near impossibility. Action space, however, is what takes shape when talented educators, leaders, and reformers guide the social capital of civic leaders and the financial capital of governments, foundations, corporations, and other backers toward true results. Exploring these extraordinary collaborations through their lifespans and their influences on future efforts, the authors provide political hope—that reform efforts can work, and that our schools can be made better.
Over the past half-century, El Salvador has transformed dramatically. Historically reliant on primary exports like coffee and cotton, the country emerged from a brutal civil war in 1992 to find much of its national income now coming from a massive emigrant workforce—over a quarter of its population—that earns money in the United States and sends it home. In American Value, David Pedersen examines this new way of life as it extends across two places: Intipucá, a Salvadoran town infamous for its remittance wealth, and the Washington, DC, metro area, home to the second largest population of Salvadorans in the United States.
Pedersen charts El Salvador’s change alongside American deindustrialization, viewing the Salvadoran migrant work abilities used in new lowwage American service jobs as a kind of primary export, and shows how the latest social conditions linking both countries are part of a longer history of disparity across the Americas. Drawing on the work of Charles S. Peirce, he demonstrates how the defining value forms—migrant work capacity, services, and remittances—act as signs, building a moral world by communicating their exchangeability while hiding the violence and exploitation on which this story rests. Theoretically sophisticated, ethnographically rich, and compellingly written, American Value offers critical insights into practices that are increasingly common throughout the world.
Amsterdam Human Capital
Edited by Willem Salet and Sako Musterd Amsterdam University Press, 2003 Library of Congress HT395.N42A464 2003 | Dewey Decimal 949.2352
The familiar shape of western cities is changing dramatically. For long times the urban core was taken for granted as the focal point for international contacts and day-to-day activities in the region. Currently, the urban scope is transforming into multi centred forms at metropolitan scale. The transition is not just a matter of spatial form, it is reflecting social, economic and cultural processes. The question is what new identities may develop in such changing historical conditions of space and place.The book is a first attempt to analyse the process of urban transformation in an integral way. The focus is on the region of Amsterdam. All contributions are written by senior researchers of the Amsterdam studycentre for the Metropolitan Environment (AME). AME is the interdisciplinary urban research institute of the Universiteit van Amsterdam.As the urban research institute at the Universiteit van Amsterdam, the Amsterdam studycentre for the Metropolitan Environment (AME) analyses the economic, social and cultural aspects of this spatial transformation, usually in international comparative research. All contributions to this book are written by senior researchers of AME in an attempt to analyse in an integral way the present and future dilemmas out of the historical growth paths of this dynamic city.
What does it mean to be a good citizen today? What are practices of citizenship? And what can we learn from the past about these practices to better engage in city life in the twenty-first century? Ancient and Modern Practices of Citizenship in Asia and the West: Care of the Self is a collection of papers that examine these questions. The contributors come from a variety of different disciplines, including architecture, urbanism, philosophy, and history, and their essays make comparative examinations of the practices of citizenship from the ancient world to the present day in both the East and the West. The papers’ comparative approaches, between East and West, and ancient and modern, leads to a greater understanding of the challenges facing citizens in the urbanized twenty-first century, and by looking at past examples, suggests ways of addressing them. While the book’s point of departure is philosophical, its key aim is to examine how philosophy can be applied to everyday life for the betterment of citizens in cities not just in Asia and the West but everywhere.
American urbanites once lived alongside livestock and beasts of burden. But as cities grew, human–animal relationships changed. The city became a place for pets, not slaughterhouses or working animals. Andrew Robichaud traces the far-reaching consequences of this shift—for urban landscapes, animal- and child-welfare laws, and environmental justice.
An important new ethnographic study of São Paulo’s favelas revealing the widespread use of race-based police repression in Brazil
While Black Lives Matter still resonates in the United States, the movement has also become a potent rallying call worldwide, with harsh police tactics and repressive state policies often breaking racial lines. In The Anti-Black City, Jaime Amparo Alves delves into the dynamics of racial violence in Brazil, where poverty, unemployment, residential segregation, and a biased criminal justice system create urban conditions of racial precarity.
The Anti-Black City provocatively offers race as a vital new lens through which to view violence and marginalization in the supposedly “raceless” São Paulo. Ironically, in a context in which racial ambiguity makes it difficult to identify who is black and who is white, racialized access to opportunities and violent police tactics establish hard racial boundaries through subjugation and death. Drawing on two years of ethnographic research in prisons and neighborhoods on the periphery of this mega-city, Alves documents the brutality of police tactics and the complexity of responses deployed by black residents, including self-help initiatives, public campaigns against police violence, ruthless gangs, and self-policing of communities.
The Anti-Black City reveals the violent and racist ideologies that underlie state fantasies of order and urban peace in modern Brazil. Illustrating how “governing through death” has become the dominant means for managing and controlling ethnic populations in the neoliberal state, Alves shows that these tactics only lead to more marginalization, criminality, and violence. Ultimately, Alves’s work points to a need for a new approach to an intractable problem: how to govern populations and territories historically seen as “ungovernable.”
As the waves of Occupy movements gradually recede, we soon forget the political hope and passions these events have offered. Instead, we are increasingly entrenched in the simplified dichotomies of Left and Right, us and them, hating others and victimizing oneself. Studying Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement, which might be the largest Occupy movement in recent years, The Appearing Demos urges us to re-commit to democracy at a time when democracy is failing on many fronts and in different parts of the world.
The 79-day-long Hong Kong Umbrella Movement occupied major streets in the busiest parts of the city, creating tremendous inconvenience to this city famous for capitalist order and efficiency. It was also a peaceful collective effort of appearance, and it was as much a political event as a cultural one. The urge for expressing an independent cultural identity underlined both the Occupy movement and the remarkably rich cultural expressions it generated. While understanding the specificity of Hong Kong’s situations, The Appearing Demos also comments on some global predicaments we are facing in the midst of neoliberalism and populism. It directs our attention from state-based sovereignty to city-based democracy, and emphasizes the importance of participation and cohabitation. The book also examines how the ideas of Hannah Arendt are useful to those happenings much beyond the political circumstances that gave rise to her theorization. The book pays particular attention to the actual intersubjective experiences during the protest. These experiences are local, fragile, and sometimes inarticulable, therefore resisting rationality and debates, but they define the fullness of any individual, and they also make politics possible. Using the Umbrella Movement as an example, this book examines the “freed” political agents who constantly take others into consideration in order to guarantee the political realm as a place without coercion and discrimination. In doing so, Pang Laikwan demonstrates how politics means neither to rule nor to be ruled, and these movements should be defined by hope, not by goals.
Groundbreaking essays in urban archaeology highlight the impact of towns and cities on the southern landscape
The rapid growth and development of urban areas in the South have resulted in an increase in the number of urban archaeology projects required by federal and state agencies. These projects provide opportunities not only to investigate marginal areas between the town and countryside but also to recover information long buried beneath the earliest urban structures. Such projects have also created a need for a one-volume update on archaeology as it is practiced in the urban areas of the southeastern United States.
Archaeology of Southern Urban Landscapes will assist practitioners and scholars in the burgeoning fields of urban and landscape archaeology by treating the South as a distinctive social, geographic, and material entity and by focusing on the urban South rather than the stereotypical South of rural plantations. The case studies in this volume span the entire southeastern United States, from Annapolis to New Orleans and from colonial times to the 19th century. The authors address questions involving the function of cities, interregional diversity, the evolution of the urban landscape, and the impact of the urban landscape on southern culture. By identifying the relationship between southern culture and the South's urban landscapes, this book will help us understand the built landscape of the past and predict future growth in the region.
Mumbai's textile industry is commonly but incorrectly understood to be an extinct relic of the past. In The Archive of Loss Maura Finkelstein examines what it means for textile mill workers—who are assumed not to exist—to live and work during a period of deindustrialization. Finkelstein shows how mills are ethnographic archives of the city where documents, artifacts, and stories exist in the buildings and in the bodies of workers. Workers' pain, illnesses, injuries, and exhaustion narrate industrial decline; the ways in which they live in tenements exist outside and resist the values expounded by modernity; and the rumors and untruths they share about textile worker strikes and a mill fire help them make sense of the industry's survival. In outlining this archive's contents, Finkelstein shows how mills, which she conceptualizes as lively ruins, become a lens through which to challenge, reimagine, and alter ways of thinking about the past, present, and future in Mumbai and beyond.
What can the art of play teach us about the art of play? Showcasing the paintings of more than one hundred Philadelphia public elementary school children, folklorist Anna Beresin’s innovative book, The Art of Play, presents images and stories that illustrate what children do at recess, and how it makes them feel.
Beresin provides a nuanced, child-centered discussion of the intersections of play, art, and learning. She describes a widespread institutionalized fear of play and expressive art, and the transformative power of simple materials like chalk and paint. Featuring more than 150 paintings and a dozen surreal photographs of masked children enjoying recess, The Art of Play weaves together the diverse voices of kids and working artists with play scholarship.
This book emerged from Recess Access, a service-learning project that donated chalk, ropes, balls, and hoops to nine schools in different sections of Philadelphia. A portion of the proceeds of The Art of Play will support recess advocacy.
Stormwater management as art? Absolutely. Rain is a resource that should be valued and celebrated, not merely treated as an urban design problem—and yet, traditional stormwater treatment methods often range from ugly to forgettable. Artful Rainwater Design shows that it's possible to effectively manage runoff while also creating inviting, attractive landscapes.
This beautifully illustrated, comprehensive guide explains how to design creative, yet practical, landscapes that treat on-site stormwater management as an opportunity to enhance site design. Artful Rainwater Design has three main parts: first, the book outlines five amenity-focused goals that might be highlighted in a project: education, recreation, safety, public relations, and aesthetic appeal. Next, it focuses on techniques for ecologically sustainable stormwater management that complement the amenity goals. Finally, it features diverse case studies that show how designers around the country are implementing principles of artful rainwater design.
Artful Rainwater Design is a must-have resource for landscape architects, urban designers, civil engineers, and architects who won't let stormwater regulations cramp their style, and who understand that for a design to truly be sustainable, people must appreciate and love it. It is a tool for creating landscapes that celebrate rain for the life-giving resource it is—and contribute to more sustainable, healthy, and even fun, built environments.
China’s rise as a global power is one of the major economic and political developments of the past fifty years. One seemingly inevitable outcome of industrialization is urbanization, and this definitive study surveys the key aspects of China’s massive wave of urbanization with an emphasis on the changes to the quality of life of urban dewellers. With contributions from authors in a variety of fields, Aspects of Urbanization in China creates a resonant and rich portrait of China’s global ambitions, as well as their culture, architecture, and economy. While the volume deals with disparate aspects of urbanization, the articles included are unified by a deep concern for Chinese citizens.
David L. Sjoquist Russell Sage Foundation, 2000 Library of Congress HN80.A8A86 2000 | Dewey Decimal 305.8009758231
Despite the rapid creation of jobs in the greater Atlanta region, poverty in the city itself remains surprisingly high, and Atlanta's economic boom has yet to play a significant role in narrowing the gap between the suburban rich and the city poor. This book investigates the key factors underlying this paradox. The authors show that the legacy of past residential segregation as well as the more recent phenomenon of urban sprawl both work against inner city blacks. Many remain concentrated near traditional black neighborhoods south of the city center and face prohibitive commuting distances now that jobs have migrated to outlying northern suburbs. The book also presents some promising signs. Few whites still hold overt negative stereotypes of blacks, and both whites and blacks would prefer to live in more integrated neighborhoods. The emergence of a dynamic, black middle class and the success of many black-owned businesses in the area also give the authors reason to hope that racial inequality will not remain entrenched in a city where so much else has changed. A Volume in the Multi-City Study of Urban Inequality
Atlanta, the epitome of the New South, is a city whose economic growth has transformed it from a provincial capital to a global city, one that could bid for and win the 1996 Summer Olympics. Yet the reality is that the exceptional growth of the region over the last twenty years has exacerbated inequality, particularly for African Americans. Atlanta, the city of Martin Luther King, Jr., remains one of the most segregated cities in the United States.
Despite African American success in winning the mayor's office and control of the City Council, development plans have remained in the control of private business interests. Keating tells a number of troubling stories. The development of the Underground Atlanta, the construction of the rapid rail system (MARTA), the building of a new stadium for the Braves, the redevelopment of public housing, and the arrangements for the Olympic Games all share a lack of democratic process. Business and political elites ignored protests from neighborhood groups, the interests of the poor, and the advice of planners.
Looking at Atlanta, Georgia, one might conclude that the city’s notorious sprawl, degraded air quality, and tenuous water supply is a result of a lack of planning—particularly an absence of coordination at the regional level. In Atlanta Unbound, Carlton Wade Basmajian shows that Atlanta’s low-density urban form and its associated problems have been both highly coordinated and regionally planned.
Basmajian’s shrewd analysis shows how regional policies spanned political boundaries and framed local debates over several decades. He examines the role of the Atlanta Regional Commission’s planning deliberations that appear to have contributed to the urban sprawl that they were designed to control. Basmajian explores four cases—regional land development plans, water supply strategies, growth management policies, and transportation infrastructure programs—to provide a detailed account of the interactions between citizens, planners, regional commissions, state government, and federal agencies.
In the process, Atlanta Unbound answers the question: Toward what end and for whom is Atlanta’s regional planning process working?
In the series Urban Life, Landscape, and Policy, edited by Zane L. Miller, David Stradling, and Larry Bennett