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Regeneration, Citizenship, and Justice in the American City since the 1970s

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Aneta Dybska

This book investigates post-industrial American cities as sites of struggle where political identities are mobilized and new modes of citizenship are articulated. This interdisciplinary analysis gleans insights from anthropology, literary criticism, cultural studies, geography, political philosophy, and urban studies. Drawing on scholarly, journalistic, essayistic, and fictional texts, the author examines the linkages between urban regeneration policies, citizenship, and social justice in the neoliberal city. She foregrounds grassroots and official strategies of community building, civic revival and democratic governance, as well as the right to the city, localism, and sustainability as key discourses and practices of re-configuring and re-inhabiting the urban.

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Chapter Seven Multiculturalism and Social Capital in the Garden

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The list of ideals being planted and tended and sometimes harvested is endless, but the question is simple. What crops are you tending? What do you hope to grow? Hope? Community? Health? Pleasure? Justice? Gardens represent the idealism of this moment and its principal pitfall, I think. A garden can be, after all, either the ground you stand on to take on the world or how you retreat from it, and the difference is not always obvious.

—Rebecca Solnit, “Revolutionary Plots,” n. pag.

During periods of social change and displacement … the desire grows strong to define a common “us” so that men may forge a bulwark for themselves against disorder.­

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