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Company Towns in the Americas

Landscape, Power, and Working-Class Communities

Edited by Oliver J. Dinius and Angela Vergara

Company towns were the spatial manifestation of a social ideology and an economic rationale. The contributors to this volume show how national politics, social protest, and local culture transformed those founding ideologies by examining the histories of company towns in six countries: Argentina (Firmat), Brazil (Volta Redonda, Santos, Fordlândia), Canada (Sudbury), Chile (El Salvador), Mexico (Santa Rosa, Río Blanco), and the United States (Anaconda, Kellogg, and Sunflower City).
 
Company towns across the Americas played similar economic and social roles. They advanced the frontiers of industrial capitalism and became powerful symbols of modernity. They expanded national economies by supporting extractive industries on thinly settled frontiers and, as a result, brought more land, natural resources, and people under the control of corporations. U.S. multinational companies exported ideas about work discipline, race, and gender to Latin America as they established company towns there to extend their economic reach. Employers indeed shaped social relations in these company towns through education, welfare, and leisure programs, but these essays also show how working-class communities reshaped these programs to serve their needs.
 
The editors’ introduction and a theoretical essay by labor geographer Andrew Herod provide the context for the case studies and illuminate how the company town serves as a window into both the comparative and transnational histories of labor under industrial capitalism.

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Constructing Boundaries

Jewish and Arab Workers in Mandatory Palestine

An interdisciplinary study discussing the impact of the national crisis in Mandatory Palestine on relations between Jewish and Arab workers and their respective labor movements. Constructing Boundaries examines the competition, interaction, and impact among Jewish and Arab workers in the labor market of Mandatory Palestine. It is both a labor market study, based on the Split Labor Market Theory, and a case study of the labor market of Haifa, the center of economic development in Mandatory Palestine. Bernstein demonstrates the impact of the pervasive national conflict on the relations between the workers of the two nationalities and between their labor movements. She analyzes the attempts of Jewish workers to construct boundaries between themselves and the Arab workers, and also highlights cases of cooperation between Jewish and Arab workers and of joint class struggle.

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Constructing the Dynamo of Dixie

Race, Urban Planning, and Cosmopolitanism in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Courtney Elizabeth Knapp

What can local histories of interracial conflict and collaboration teach us about the potential for urban equity and social justice in the future? Courtney Elizabeth Knapp chronicles the politics of gentrification and culture-based development in Chattanooga, Tennessee, by tracing the roots of racism, spatial segregation, and mainstream "cosmopolitanism" back to the earliest encounters between the Cherokee, African Americans, and white settlers. For more than three centuries, Chattanooga has been a site for multiracial interaction and community building; yet today public leaders have simultaneously restricted and appropriated many contributions of working-class communities of color within the city, exacerbating inequality and distrust between neighbors and public officials. Knapp suggests that "diasporic placemaking"—defined as the everyday practices through which uprooted people create new communities of security and belonging—is a useful analytical frame for understanding how multiracial interactions drive planning and urban development in diverse cities over time. By weaving together archival, ethnographic, and participatory action research techniques, she reveals the political complexities of a city characterized by centuries of ordinary resistance to racial segregation and uneven geographic development.

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Constructive Feminism

Women's Spaces and Women's Rights in the American City

by Daphne Spain

In Constructive Feminism, Daphne Spain examines the deliberate and unintended spatial consequences of feminism's second wave, a social movement dedicated to reconfiguring power relations between women and men. Placing the women's movement of the 1970s in the context of other social movements that have changed the use of urban space, Spain argues that reform feminists used the legal system to end the mandatory segregation of women and men in public institutions, while radical activists created small-scale places that gave women the confidence to claim their rights to the public sphere.

Women’s centers, bookstores, health clinics, and domestic violence shelters established feminist places for women’s liberation in Boston, Los Angeles, and many other cities. Unable to afford their own buildings, radicals adapted existing structures to serve as women’s centers that fostered autonomy, health clinics that promoted reproductive rights, bookstores that connected women to feminist thought, and domestic violence shelters that protected their bodily integrity. Legal equal opportunity reforms and daily practices of liberation enhanced women’s choices in education and occupations. Once the majority of wives and mothers had joined the labor force, by the mid-1980s, new buildings began to emerge that substituted for the unpaid domestic tasks once performed in the home. Fast food franchises, childcare facilities, adult day centers, and hospices were among the inadvertent spatial consequences of the second wave.

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Contemporary Urbanism Brazil

Beyond Brasília

Edited by Vicente del Rio and William Siembieda

For decades, a succession of military regimes and democratic governments in Brazil sought to shape the future of their society through the manipulation of urban spaces. Planned cities were built that reflected the ideals of high modernism, and urban designers and planners created clean-cut minimalist spaces that reflected the hope for an idyllic future in a still-developing nation. But these cities were criticized as "utopian dreams" in a country plagued with the urban realities of rampant sprawl and the infamous slums known as favelas.

In this international collection of essays, architects, urban planners, and scholars assess the legacy of Brazilian urbanism to date. They evaluate the country's experiments with modernism and examine how Brazilian cities are regenerating themselves within a democratic political framework that meets market and social demands, and respects place, culture, and history.

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Contentious City

The Politics of Recovery in New York City

Few public projects have ever dealt with economic and emotional issues as large as those surrounding the rebuilding of lower Manhattan following the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001. Picking up the pieces involved substantial challenges: deciding how to memorialize one of America's greatest tragedies, how to balance the legal claim of landowners against the moral claim of survivors who want a say in the future of Ground Zero, and how to rebuild the Trade Center site while preserving the sacredness and solemnity that Americans now attribute to the area. All the while, the governor, the mayor, the Port Authority, and the leaseholder competed with one another to advance their own interests and visions of the redevelopment, while at least leaving the impression that the decisions were the public's to make. In Contentious City, editor John Mollenkopf and a team of leading scholars analyze the wide-ranging political dimensions of the recovery process.

Contentious City takes an in-depth look at the competing interests and demands of the numerous stakeholders who have sought to influence the direction of the recovery process. Lynne Sagalyn addresses the complicated institutional politics behind the rebuilding, which involve a newly formed development commission seeking legitimacy, a two-state transportation agency whose brief venture into land ownership puts it in control of the world's most famous 16 acres of land, and a private business group whose affiliation with the World Trade Center places it squarely in a fight for billions of dollars in insurance funds. Arielle Goldberg profiles five civic associations that sprouted up to voice public opinion about the redevelopment process. While the groups did not gain much leverage over policy outcomes, Goldberg argues that they were influential in steering the agenda of decision-makers and establishing what values would be prioritized in the development plans. James Young, a member of the jury that selected the design for the World Trade Center site memorial, discusses the challenge of trying to simultaneously memorialize a tragic event, while helping those who suffered find renewal and move on with their lives. Editor John Mollenkopf contributes a chapter on how the September 11 terrorist attacks altered the course of politics in New York, and how politicians at the city and state level adapted to the new political climate after 9/11 to win elected office.

Moving forward after the destruction of the Twin Towers was a daunting task, made more difficult by the numerous competing claims on the site, and the varied opinions on how it should be used in the future. Contentious City brings together the voices surrounding this intense debate, and helps make sense of the rival interests vying for control over one of the most controversial urban development programs in history.

A Russell Sage Foundation September 11 Initiative Volume

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Contestations of Memory in Southeast Asia

Edited by Roxana Waterson and Kwok Kian Woon

Contestations of Memory in Southeast Asia applies a new theoretical literature on social memory to remembered eveents in Burma, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia. Highlighting connections between theorizing based on European examples and unresolved memory issues in East and Southeast Asia, the authors show how comparative study of the interpenetration of politics and lived bodily experience, of communal and personal memories, and of dominant and suppressed narratives, can yield insights into the human potential to become either perpetrators, victims or bystanders. The memories found within different groups in any society are open to negotiation, suppression, contestation, or revision in the ever-evolving politics of the present. The searching and close-grained analyses of contemporary issues found in the volume vividly illustrate the essentially plural and multivocal nature of social memories, and demonstrate the intricate connection between transnational, national and sub-national politics. Readers seeking a more nuanced and complex understanding of the past and of its continued relevance to the present and future, will find here much food for thought.

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A Contested Borderland

Competing Russian and Romanian Visions of Bessarabia in the Second Half of the 19th and Early 20th Century

Andrei Cusco

Bessarabia was the only territory representing an object of rivalry and symbolic competition between the Russian Empire and a fully crystallized nation-state: the Kingdom of Romania. This book is an intellectual prehistory of the Bessarabian problem, focusing on the antagonism of the national and imperial visions of this contested periphery. Through a critical reassessment and revision of the traditional historical narratives, the study argues that Bessarabia was claimed not just by two opposing projects of ‘symbolic inclusion,’ but also by two alternative and theoretically antagonistic models of political legitimacy. By transcending the national lens of Bessarabian / Moldovan history and viewing it in the broader Eurasian comparative context, the book responds to the growing tendency in recent historiography to focus on the peripheries in order to better understand the functioning of national and imperial states in the modern era.

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Contesting Community

The Limits and Potential of Local Organizing

James DeFilippis, Robert Fisher, and Eric Shragge

What do community organizations and organizers do, and what should they do? Contesting Community addresses one of the vital issues of our day-the role and meaning of community in people's lives and in the larger political economy. It paints a more critical picture of community work which, according to the authors-in both theory and practice-has amounted to less than the sum of its parts. Their comparative study of efforts in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada describes and analyzes the limits and potential of this work.

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Coping with Adversity

Regional Economic Resilience and Public Policy

Harold Wolman, Howard Wial, Travis St. Clair, and Edward Hill

Coping with Adversity addresses the question of why some metropolitan-area regional economies are resilient in the face of economic shocks and chronic distress while others are not. It is particularly concerned with what public policies make a difference in whether a region is resilient. The authors employ a wide range of techniques to examine the experience of all metropolitan area economies from 1978–2014. They then look closely at six American metropolitan areas to determine what strategies were employed, which of these contributed to regional economic resilience, and which did not. Charlotte, North Carolina, Seattle, Washington, and Grand Forks, North Dakota, are cases of economic resilience, while Cleveland, Ohio, Hartford, Connecticut, and Detroit, Michigan, are cases of economic nonresilience. The six case studies include hard data on employment, production, and demographics, as well as material on public policies and actions.

The authors conclude that there is little that can done in the short term to counter economic shocks; most regions simply rebound naturally after a relatively short period of time. However, they do find that many regions have successfully emerged from periods of prolonged economic distress and that there are policies that can be applied to help them do so. Coping with Adversity will be important reading for all those concerned with local and regional economic development, including public officials, urban planners, and economic developers.

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