Displacement through discourse: Implementing and contesting public housing redevelopment in Cabrini Green

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although social scientists have documented urban redevelopment and gentrification extensively, few have addressed their discursive causes and effects. In this paper, I use a critical discourse approach to investigate the success of discourse manipulation, the primary mode through which urban elites displace public housing residents and carry out redevelopment in Cabrini Green, an African-American public housing community on Chicago's Lower North Side. Using qualitative methodologies, I show that public housing residents recognize the discursive constructions that enable the implementation of redevelopment and contest it in rhetorical ways. To expose their forceful displacement from their homes and community, resident activists reframe public housing redevelopment as a "human rights crisis." As evidenced by these tactics, redeveloping Cabrini Green is inherently a discursive site, a space marked by "cultural production and political struggle" (Conquergood 1992: 97).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-74
Number of pages36
JournalUrban Anthropology
Volume35
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Anthropology
  • Urban Studies

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