"Remaking the City: Urban Development and Pragmatic Racialization"
By Christopher Mele, Department of Sociology University at Buffalo
Social scientists have long debated whether economic dislocation stemming from deindustrialization is more central to understanding the “plight of the inner city” than the problem of race. This talk take an alternative approach and examines pragmatic racialization -- the historical process in which elites, developers, and the state actively develop and wield coherent racial narratives that justify their interests, choices and decisions in remaking the American city.
As permanent and spatially concentrated urban poverty may appear in cities across decades, it is not self-reproducing; rather, the persistence of inner-city exclusion is a matter of ongoing choices and decisions made less by residents than by a number of different institutions and actors with vested self-interests. Drawing on past and present examples from ‘decline belt’ cities of the US Northeast and Midwest, this talk explores how racial exclusion serves as a strategy of redistribution of urban space along class and racial lines.