Urban Studies/Latin American Studies
A readable look at culture and politics in Los Angeles through a Latino lens.
Los Angeles: scratch the surface of the city's image as a rich mosaic of multinational cultures and a grittier truth emerges-its huge, shimmering economy was built on the backs of largely Latino immigrants and still depends on them. This book exposes the underside of the development and restructuring that have turned Los Angeles into a global city, and in doing so it reveals the ways in which ideas about ethnicity-Latino identity itself-are implicated and elaborated in the process. A penetrating analysis of the social, economic, cultural, and political consequences of the growth of the Latino working-class populations in Los Angeles, Latino Metropolis is also a nuanced account of the complex links between political economy and the social construction of ethnicity.
Lifting examples from recent news stories, political encounters, and cultural events, the authors demonstrate how narratives about Latinos are used to maintain the status quo-particularly the existing power grid-in the city. In media representations of riots, in the recasting (and "whitening") of Mexican food as Spanish-American cuisine, in the community displacement that occurred as part of the development of the Staples Center-in telling instances large and small, we see how Los Angeles and its Latino population are mutually transforming. And we see how an old Latino politics of "racial" identity is inevitably giving way to a new politics of class.
Combining political and economic insight with trenchant social and cultural analysis, this work offers the clearest statement to date of how ethnicity and class intersect in defining racialized social relations in the contemporary metropolis.
Victor M. Valle is associate professor of ethnic studies at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Rodolfo D. Torres is associate professor of education at the University of California, Irvine, where he teaches social policy and urban political economy.
Globalization and Community Series, volume 7 Translation Inquiries: University of Minnesota Press
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Valle worked as a Los Angeles Times staff writer for eight years and was awarded a Pulitzer Prize as a member of the reporting team for a series on Southern California's Latino community. He is currently associate professor of ethnic studies at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
Rodolfo D. Torres is associate professor of Chicano-Latino studies, political science, and planning, policy, and design at the University of California, Irvine. Among his books are "Latino Metropolis" and "Savage State: Welfare Capitalism & Inequality".
Saskia Sassen is Robert S. Lynd professor of sociology and cochairs the Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University. She also serves on several editorial boards and is an advisor to several international bodies. Her research and writing focuses on globalization (including social, economic and political dimensions), immigration, global cities (including cities and terrorism), the new networked technologies, and changes within the liberal state that result from current transnational conditions. In her research she has focused on the unexpected and the counterintuitive as a way to cut through established "truths." Her three major books--The Mobility of Labor and Capital (1988), The Global City (1991; 2nd ed 2002), andTerritory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages (2006; 2nd ed. 2008)--have each sought to demolish key established "truths." In addition to these three works, Sassen recently published A Sociology of Globalization (Norton 2007). She has also just completed a five-year project for UNESCO on sustainable human settlement, for which she set up a network of researchers and activists in over thirty countries. The results of this study are published as one of the volumes of the Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. She has also editedDeciphering the Global: Its Spaces, Scales, and Subjects (2006) and coedited Digital Formations: New Architectures for Global Order (2005). Her books have been translated into sixteen languages.
Valle (ethnic studies, California Polytechnic State Univ.) and Torres (education, Univ. of California) challenge existing methodologies of defining urban society in terms of race, calling for the construction of a new urban politics based on the commonalities of culture and class. Providing a micro-level analysis of Los Angeles, the authors demonstrate how the city and its neighbors function as private wealth-producing machines without giving money back to the communities whose workers make that revenue possible. They use examples from recent news stories, political encounters, and cultural events to make their case that Latinos are used to maintain the existing power structure and can change things only by understanding and strengthening their global political options. While the book focuses exclusively on the dynamics in Los Angeles (e.g., globalization, immigration, and politics), its argument can be extrapolated to analyze conditions of Latinos in cities across the United States. Geared toward postgraduates in urban studies, this book is recommended for academic libraries.DDeborah Bigelow, Leonia P.L., NJ
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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