You don't see what I see : multiple publics and public policy in a Los Angeles gang war
Author(s)Umemoto, Karen Nora, 1958-
Multiple publics and public policy in a Los Angeles gang war
MetadataShow full item record
An analytical concept of multiple publics is presented and applied to a case study of a gang conflict in Venice, California during 1993-1994. The concept of multiple publics is based on the assumption that individuals have many identities that vary in salience or relevance across situations. Publics represent groups based on the shared salience of identity group boundaries in a particular situation. Each public shares a unique interpretive lens through which they read events, actions and information. The composition and constellation of publics can change as situations change or are reframed. Over ten-month period, what was commonly referred to as a "gang war" broke out between two predominantly Latino gangs and one African-American gang. Seventeen people were killed and over 50 were injured. Of those killed, less than one-third were claimed as members the rival gangs in conflict. This gang-generated conflict led to racial tensions and polarization within the larger geographic neighborhood. An examination of the conflict through the lens of multiple publics reveals a series of shifts in the major line of cleavage over time-from persons to families to gangs to race and back to gangs. Shifts in the major line of cleavage represented changes in the relative salience of identity group boundaries among the many individuals involved or affected by the war. With each shift during its escalation, the intensity of conflict grew while the size of constituencies and publics were enlarged. Conversely, changing conditions and appeals to alternative identities led to shifts in salient group boundaries that opened opportunities for peace negotiations between two of the three gangs in conflict. The analysis of multiple publics in the case study shows four practices that may be useful in addressing similar conflicts. They are described as: 1) mapping multiple publics and multiple identities, 2) seeing from the lens of multiple publics, 3) reframing situations and opening dialogue, and 4) situationally identifying moral communities to which one is obliged.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 1998.Includes bibliographical references (leaves 218-230).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning