Caitlin Anne Parker
C. Phil; MA US History, UCLA, 2010; BA History and French, Amherst College, 2006
20th Century US; urban; political; spatial; race and ethnicity
Dissertation working title: "Mayor Bradley's Los Angeles: Urban Governance in an Era of Austerity, 1973-1993"
My dissertation examines why racial and economic inequality grew in Los Angeles despite unprecedented minority political incorporation following the civil rights movement and the twenty-year tenure of the city’s first African-American Mayor Tom Bradley. I examine local struggles over economic development that arose as the city grappled with global economic restructuring, rising immigration, and federal retrenchment in the 1970s and 80s. My research reveals that these local struggles – over budgets, property taxes, public employee compensation, urban development, and the provision of social services – reshaped politics in ways that cannot be captured simply by charting the decline of New Deal liberalism and the rise of conservatism nationally.
Faced with a shrinking welfare state and a taxpayer revolt institutionalized in Proposition 13, the Bradley administration embraced fiscal austerity, experimented with public-private partnerships, and tested market-based solutions to urban problems. Like other big-city mayors, Bradley focused on developing Los Angeles into a global center of trade, tourism, and finance, hoping that economic growth would trickle-down to address the problem of poverty. These policies provoked a new set of crises, however, exacerbating economic and racial inequality in the city and leading to a growing class of working poor. At the same time, fiscal austerity and rising inequality mobilized new community-labor coalitions that demanded growth with equity and living wages. Los Angeles’ changing demographics led to the rise of new interracial coalitions that challenged Bradley’s politics of representation and demanded a more meaningful redistribution of power.
Jan Reiff (Chair)
Robin D.G. Kelley
“The Capitalist Games: Privatization, Protest, and the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics,” 2014 Los Angeles History and Metro Studies Group, Huntington Library
"Rebuild LA: the 1992 Los Angeles Riots and the Privatization of Public Policy," 2013 Social Science History Association Conference
"Redeveloping Downtown Los Angeles in an Era of Fiscal Austerity," 2013 Business History Conference
"The Los Angeles Goals Program: Participatory Urban Planning and Metropolitan Inequality, 1964-1984," 2011 Western History Association Conference
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