Date of Award
Armond Towns, Ph.D.
Critical, Cultural, Gentrification, Latina/o/x, Urbanism, Whiteness
For many years, the city of Los Angeles has declared war on communities of color. In the past decade, former communities of color like Echo Park, Silver Lake, and Highland Park have all been converted into predominantly white, affluent neighborhoods. In essence, working-class people of colors' neighborhoods are being uplifted in order to welcome a much more affluent population to town. The newest target of Los Angeles' gentrification for the past couple of years has been the greater Eastside. In this project I present my critical intervention of gentrification as a whiteness project. This critical intervention argues that gentrification should be understood as a revitalization process that redevelops a blighted neighborhood by effectively cleaning it of its bodies of color.
As a critical intervention, gentrification as a whiteness project posits that the revitalization of neighborhoods of color must be understood as a process with both classist and racist implications. In short, this critical intervention argues that a racialization process undergirds the classist "take-over" of a neighborhood by a wealthier incoming population. In order to support the claim that gentrification should be considered a whiteness project I hope to consolidate three major threads of research that are currently unrecognized in dominant gentrification literature: (1) capitalism is a raced project in the U.S.; (2) displacement is not separate from gentrification; (3) and the locality of gentrification is connected to global systems.
By employing critical and rhetorical methods, I explore gentrification by analyzing three points that contextualize urban communication: materiality, bodies, and movement. In this way, the goal was to understand how the city created new urban built environments for gentrification (Chapter 1), how artists and beneficiaries of a revitalized neighborhood used their bodies to (re)center their right to gentrify any neighborhood (Chapter 2), and finally, which movements were formed in order to counter these claims for gentrification (Chapter 3). Ultimately, by analyzing these three different sites of gentrification I aimed to map out a critical rhetorical cartography of L.A.'s gentrification in order to highlight the ways that power, subjectivity, and place-making are negotiated.
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Guzmán, Jaime, "The Whiteness Project of Gentrification: The Battle over Los Angeles' Eastside" (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1433.
Received from ProQuest
Communication, Ethnic studies