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Spaces of Conflict, Sounds of Solidarity

Spaces of Conflict, Sounds of Solidarity: Music, Race, and Spatial Entitlement in Los Angeles

Gaye Theresa Johnson
Copyright Date: 2013
Edition: 1
Pages: 262
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  • Book Info
    Spaces of Conflict, Sounds of Solidarity
    Book Description:

    InSpaces of Conflict, Sounds of Solidarity,Gaye Theresa Johnson examines interracial anti-racist alliances, divisions among aggrieved minority communities, and the cultural expressions and spatial politics that emerge from the mutual struggles of Blacks and Chicanos in Los Angeles from the 1940s to the present. Johnson argues that struggles waged in response to institutional and social repression have created both moments and movements in which Blacks and Chicanos have unmasked power imbalances, sought recognition, and forged solidarities by embracing the strategies, cultures, and politics of each others' experiences. At the center of this study is the theory of spatial entitlement: the spatial strategies and vernaculars utilized by working class youth to resist the demarcations of race and class that emerged in the postwar era. In this important new book, Johnson reveals how racial alliances and antagonisms between Blacks and Chicanos in L.A. had spatial as well as racial dimensions.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95485-4
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Introduction: The Future Has a Past
    (pp. ix-xxvi)

    This is a book about interracial antiracist alliances, about divisions among aggrieved minority communities, and about the cultural expressions that emerge from shared urban spaces. Examining Afro-Chicano politics from the 1940s to the present, I reveal the radical antiracist and egalitarian cultural politics that helped nurture and sustain working-class alliances, intellectual advances, and cultural practices that challenge traditional boundaries of race, space, and region. These politics have resulted in critical interethnic challenges to structures of dominance in Los Angeles, making this story relevant to the history of diverse urban political cultures in every American city.

    Relationships between African Americans and...

  4. CHAPTER 1 Luisa Moreno, Charlotta Bass, and the Constellations of Interethnic Working-Class Radicalism
    (pp. 1-47)

    In Los Angeles during the Second World War and the immediate postwar period, Black and Mexican-American activists, artists, and youth cultures deployed the strategy of spatial entitlement as a way of advancing democratic and egalitarian ideals. Spatial entitlement entails occupying, inhabiting, and transforming physical places, but also imagining, envisioning, and enacting discursive spaces that “make room” for new affiliations and identifications. Locked in by residential segregation and territorial policing, locked out of the jobs, schools, and amenities in neighborhoods of opportunity, and sometimes even locked up in the region’s jails and prisons, Blacks and Mexicans in Los Angeles turned oppressive...

  5. CHAPTER 2 Spatial Entitlement: Race, Displacement, and Sonic Reclamation in Postwar Los Angeles
    (pp. 48-84)

    Struggles for spatial entitlement flow from the recognition that a community requires more than physical space to survive. Spaces have social meanings. They function to maintain memories and to preserve practices that reinforce community knowledge and cohesiveness. In postwar Los Angeles, the boundaries of segregated Black and Brown neighborhoods were expanding incrementally, yet the social agencies and institutions that served these areas were under persistent attack by city and federal policies in the postwar era. As postwar urban renewal policies enacted devastating losses of residential and social spaces, youth from aggrieved communities expressed their claims to meaningful space in the...

  6. CHAPTER 3 Cold Wars and Counter WAR(s): Coalitional Politics in an Age of Violence
    (pp. 85-122)

    Sonic expressions of spatial entitlement constitute some of the most eloquent articulations of the right to space. Sounds have shared meanings that are informed by and give inspiration to the social, political, and economic power relations experienced by their producers. In the 1960s and 1970s in Los Angeles, these relations were rapidly changing in Brown and Black communities, not only because of the drastic and injurious urban transformations of the preceding two decades, but also because of the inspiring effects of African and Latin American anti-imperialist struggles. Sonic politics are created through shared sounds, even between communities of listeners who...

  7. CHAPTER 4 “Teeth-Gritting Harmony”: Punk, Hip-Hop, and Sonic Spatial Politics
    (pp. 123-167)

    In order to understand the importance of spatial entitlement, we have to do more than just recognize the ways people assert entitlements to new and different spaces. We have to identify how aggrieved groups invest critical meaning into the spaces and situated identities they inhabit in everyday life. Yet the critical value of these meaningful spaces is not always easy to distinguish, even by the members of the communities that contain them.

    When conservative economic policies produce joblessness, poverty, and declining infrastructure, an outsider’s observation of a low-income neighborhood may yield only the most obvious indicators of economic inequality. It...

  8. CHAPTER 5 Space, Sound, and Shared Struggles
    (pp. 168-192)

    Articulating spatial entitlements does more than just claim particular discursive and physical spaces. It also enables disaffected groups to reveal the history and effects of long-term racial and economic discrimination on their communities. Articulating a right to visibility and mobility (in physical places) and demanding recognition and respect (in discursive spaces) addresses and redresses the injuries enacted by systemic spatial isolation and racism. Public demands for dignity and respect by people meant to be contained or invisible (such as low-income communities or undocumented immigrants) constitute more than just a demand for specific concessions and reforms. They also identify and contest...

  9. Conclusion: In This Great Future…
    (pp. 193-202)

    The history of struggles shared by Black and Brown people in Los Angeles from World War II to the present is a history of shared spaces and shared sounds. Although often resource-poor, African Americans and Mexican Americans were network-rich. They turned the segregation of the ghetto and the barrio into political and cultural congregation. They used their identities as commercial target constituencies of minor media outlets like low-wattage radio stations and ethnic newspapers to fabricate ways of making their own voices heard, both among themselves and by members of other communities. Estranged from ancestral homes in the southern United States...

  10. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 203-208)
  11. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 209-222)
  12. Index
    (pp. 223-234)