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Communities of Resistance: How ordinary people developed creative responses to marginalization in Lyon and Pittsburgh, 1980-2010

Holland, Daniel (2019) Communities of Resistance: How ordinary people developed creative responses to marginalization in Lyon and Pittsburgh, 1980-2010. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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In the 1980s and 1990s, several riots erupted in suburbs, or banlieues in French, outside of Lyon, France, involving clashes between youth and police. They were part of a series of banlieue rebellions throughout France during these decades. As a result, to some French the banlieues became associated exclusively with “minority,” otherness, lawlessness, and hopelessness. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the 1980s and 1990s was reeling from a significant loss of manufacturing jobs, an exodus of population, a proliferation of vacant properties, and a widening wealth gap between white and black. Yet, out of this despair, citizens formed new organizations and initiatives to address the decline and negative images of low-income and minority communities, an expression of “social capital.”
This dissertation argues that social capital is a form of resistance used by marginalized people to control their communities in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Lyon, France, between 1980 and 2010. Motivated by transnational civil rights campaigns, Alinsky-style organizing techniques, and the formation of innovative associations this dissertation proceeds decade-by-decade, alternating between the experiences of those in Pittsburgh with those of Lyon, to describe low-income residents’ responses to discrimination and economic and social deprivation. These dual narratives of resistance from marginalized communities framed against negative public attitudes about these communities created a tension that permeated both Pittsburgh and Lyon region in the decades between 1980 and 2010.
Though archival information, interviews with residents, and site surveys, this dissertation builds upon previous scholarship to show that neither American inner city neighborhoods or French banlieues are simply “ghettos,” “no-go zones,” or “breeding grounds of crime and terrorism,” as they are sometimes called. The reality is that many American inner cities, as well as France’s banlieues, have transformed profoundly within the last thirty years. In the period between 1980 and 2010, improvements in Pittsburgh and Lyon cannot be solely attributed to the efforts of political and corporate elites. As this study shows, residents on the social and economic margins fought back to establish their legitimacy and redirect capitalist intentions that would have otherwise ignored low-income and minority areas.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMuller,
Committee MemberRuck,
Committee MemberGlasco,
Committee MemberDeitrick,
Date: 25 June 2019
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 7 March 2019
Approval Date: 25 June 2019
Submission Date: 9 April 2019
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 389
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > History
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Pittsburgh, Lyon, banlieue, community development, reinvestment, resistance, gentrification
Date Deposited: 25 Jun 2019 21:30
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2019 21:30


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