Theme Panel: Race, Class, and the Space for Local Democracy

Race, Class, and the Space for Local Democracy: New Views, New Voices

This Roundtable responds to the 2018 conference theme “Democracy and Its Discontents” and its contention that “these are challenging times for democracy.” This is especially and distinctively the case at the local level: increasing diversity, sharp inequalities in wealth and income, contested citizenship, institutions under challenge, the threat of state preemption to local autonomy, and distrust between police and community, the space for local democracy is increasingly in question. These are important, sobering questions that prompt a range of concerns: how are discontents with democracy emerging at every level in the U.S are reshaping political views and behavior, civil society, social movements, and interest groups at the subnational level? what new forms of political engagement, mobilization, and coalitions and their spatial articulation challenge the adequacy of our usual frameworks, methods, and theories; can we reflect on innovative and plausible alternative models for institutions of representation and decision making that might lead to new spaces for local democracy and better democratic outcomes at multi-scalar levels?

Specifically, Roundtable Participants will present brief comments on their distinctive research findings and methods: immigration, racialization, activism and Latino mass mobilization; comparative analyses of democratic governance and resilience; the influence of economic restructuring & geography on perceptions of intra and inter-group racial progress; deliberative democracy, race, and urban school governance; the effects of alternative financial institutions such as payday loan operations on individual’s political efficacy and political participation; new measurement strategies for analyzing the attitudes and behaviors of racial and ethnic minorities, particularly the links of immigration and health; and developing indices of local socio-economic, ethnic and racial diversity to assess policy impacts.

In an informal poll, past Urban Politics Section Presidents nominated these younger (ABD and pre-tenure) scholars whose theoretical and empirical work is recognized as especially relevant and innovative in substantive and methodological approaches.

Susan E. Clarke, University of Colorado Boulder (Chair)
Chris Zepeda-Millan, UC Berkeley (Presenter)
Allison Bramwell, University of North Carolina at Greensboro (Presenter)
Jonathan Collins, Brown University (Presenter)
Jessica Lynn Stewart, University of California, Los Angeles (Presenter)
Francisco I. Pedraza, University of California, Riverside (Presenter)
Patricia Posey, University of Pennsylvania (Presenter)
Morris E Levy, University of Southern California (Presenter)