Please join us in welcoming LaShandra P. Sullivan (PhD Candidate, Department of Anthropology).
Thursday, April 19
SS 122 from 12:00-1:20
Protest Camps and Agroindustrial Rurality-Urbanity in Brazil
Prior to democratization in 1988, Brazil’s military dictatorship (1964-1988) used explicit authoritarian violence to limit the terms for politics and economic organization. In alliance with large landholders, the government favored a capital-intensive agro-industrial model in the countryside that displaced millions of rural inhabitants in favor of export-oriented monocrop production. In Mato Grosso do Sul particularly, the production of cattle, soy, and especially sugarcane for ethanol fuel drove massive urbanization and proletarianization. Today, former peasants and subsequent generations return to rural areas as day laborers, commuting back and forth from city peripheries to work for the agro-industrial firms that now dominate the countryside. My paper focuses on the land reform protest camps of indigenous Gurani people that dot rural roadsides and “occupy” plantations in Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. The camps are a political tactic to gain state recognition of indigenous land rights. Protest camps consist of people that have moved out of (or circulate between) cities, reservations, and rural work sites. Consisting of ramshackle, make-shift dwellings, these camps present another kind of return to the countryside, one in which people seek to reclaim the countryside as a site of political struggle. I argue that, importantly, these camps do not challenge the legitimacy of the state itself. Instead they both appear to breach politics-as-usual and conform with a form of politics in which “insurgency” operates within the frame for mainstream political action. However, the camps become viewed as an offensive, potentially mortal threat to the political and economic order by undermining the seemingly settled organization of space.
Monday, January, 9 2012
12:00-1:20 in SS 302 *
Neighborhood effects on low-income families:
Long-term results from the Moving to Opportunity Experiment
The question of whether, how and why neighborhood environments influence the life chances of individuals and families has been of long-standing interest to social scientists. The main empirical challenge to answering this question arises from the fact that families typically have at least some degree of choice over where they live, which creates difficulties disentangling the effects of neighborhood environments from those of hard-to-measure individual and family level attributes associated with both residential location and other outcomes of interest. This talk will report on the new long-term findings from the HUD Moving to Opportunity (MTO) residential mobility experiment, which starting in 1994 randomly assigned public housing families the chance to use a housing voucher to move to a less distressed neighborhood. Outcomes come from in-person data collection in the domains of physical and mental health, employment, schooling, and delinquency, measured 10-15 years after random assignment.
* Please note earlier time and room change.
Elizabeth Jefferis Terrien is a PhD student in Sociology.
Cultural Conditions of City Park Use
Cultural differences within communities have different policy implications for cities. This comparative case study of two neighborhoods in Los Angeles and two in Chicago, selected on the basis of their observed divergent dog ownership practices, is used to develop a grounded theory about dogs as cultural indicators and urban community identifiers. Humans have cohabitated with domesticated dogs for millennia yet it is one of the most under-studied relationships in the social sciences. Original research and analysis of over 100 in-depth interviews, 200 hours of site observation in the community and local parks, photographs, and periodicals theorizes about individual dog-caretaker relationships and situates them within a community of dog caretakers in urban neighborhoods, and then further situates them within the larger municipal authorities of the LA Department of Recreation and Parks, Chicago Park District, LA Animal Services, Chicago Animal Care and Control, political leaders, and police. Misunderstandings of the relationships between recent Latino immigrants, African Americans, the homeless, and upper middle class owners and their dogs illustrate the impact of beliefs and feelings about dogs on modern urban life.
Amy Khare is a PhD student in the School of Social Service Administration.
Participation, deliberation, and decision-making: The dynamics of inclusion and exclusion in mixed-income developments
(Co-authored with Dr. Robert Chaskin and Dr. Mark Joseph)
Abstract: This paper explores the mechanisms, processes, and dynamics of participation and deliberation in three newly created, heterogeneous mixed-income communities being built on the footprint of former public housing developments in Chicago. Our findings reflect enduring dilemmas about the challenge of democratic participation and representation for low-income citizens in the context of public housing reform efforts. Fundamental tension exists between two orientations to organizing participation, one that privileges “mainstreaming” public housing resident participation into market and civil society, and another that suggests the continuing need for separate mechanisms that maximize public housing resident representation. In this paper, we frame the theoretical debates over the potential for establishing effective mechanisms to promote deliberative democracy at a neighborhood-level. We then explore how participatory mechanisms are viewed by key stakeholders, provide an overview of the participatory landscape, and examine how the organization of opportunities for deliberation and emerging patterns of participation shape dynamics of inclusion and exclusion in these contexts. Based on these findings, we suggest implications for policy and governance initiatives aimed at promoting deliberative democracy at a neighborhood-level.