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Title:Inter-group conflict in Chicago: The intersection of ethnicity and economic restructuring at the neighborhood level
Author(s):Browning, Jeremy Denton
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Wilson, David
Department / Program:Geography
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies
Abstract:In this study, I examine group conflict between African Americans and Mexican Americans over resources such as employment, housing, and education. A case study approach is implemented, focusing on the inner-city neighborhood of Lawndale located on Chicago's West Side. With the intensification of economic restructuring in the early 1980's, the two population groups in Lawndale increasingly competed for control of the neighborhood's dwindling resource base. I investigate two interrelated research questions: (1) what is the link between the economic restructuring of the Chicago metropolitan region and declining interethnic relations in Lawndale and (2) in reaction to a deteriorating resource base, how has socially constructed ethnicity constituted relations between Blacks and Mexicans, forming the primary axis of community division in the competition for resources.
I draw upon a distinct theoretical and methodological perspective. Analysis and interpretation of data are performed using a socio-spatial theoretical framework: local actors are viewed as active interpreters of events in their neighborhood. Drawing upon rules and resources available in the community, these actors attempt to influence resource decisions to attain control of goods such as education. Inherent in this social system are constraints that limit the actions of all actors. Data are gathered from interviews with key actors, census data, newspaper reports, activist publications, and attendance at neighborhood forums.
In the first time period, from 1970 to 1983, interethnic tensions were rare. Activists focused on greater access for minorities to resources in the metropolitan area. Blacks dominated this advocacy because the Mexican community was unfamiliar and unrepresented in community forums. After 1983, however, relations between these groups deteriorated, in particular over control of the educational agenda at Farragut High School. This conflict can be traced to the socio-economic decline of Lawndale and the escalation of Mexican advocacy as they gained representation in political forums. Both population groups used locally-adapted constructions of ethnicity to advance their agenda. Efforts by city government to develop an interethnic coalition have been unsuccessful due to the intensity of these ethnic stereotypes. Only through public policies focused on developing both Lawndale's resource base and interethnic understanding can community relations be improved.
Issue Date:1994
Rights Information:Copyright 1994 Browning, Jeremy Denton
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9512310
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9512310

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