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Imagining Miami Ethnic Politics in a Postmodern World

by Sheila L. Croucher

  • ISBN: 9780813917047
  • ISBN10: 0813917042

Imagining Miami Ethnic Politics in a Postmodern World

by Sheila L. Croucher

  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Univ of Virginia Pr
  • Publish date: 05/01/1997
  • ISBN: 9780813917047
  • ISBN10: 0813917042
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Description: Miami has long captured the world's attention in provocative ways. During the 1980s, a series of violent racial disturbances focused national and international attention there as analysis and observers scrambled to explain the demise of the "Magic City". What has emerged is a popular image of Miami as an urban area in which three distinct ethnic groups -- Hispanics, Blacks, and Anglos -- are pitted against one another in a battle for limited political, economic, and social resources. Examination of these various claims reveals, however, that neither the issues over which these groups struggle nor the identities they often attribute to each other are closely tied to reality. For example, a common belief among many Miami residents since the early 1980s has been that Cuban immigrants have cost their community, and particularly African Americans, thousands of jobs. Attempts to document job displacement have yielded no numbers to support this claim. yet it has persisted for over a decade and has been a cause of ethnic conflict.

In Imagining Miami, Sheila L. Croucher uses Miami as a laboratory in which to explore the social and political construction of ethnic identities and ethnic group conflict. Incorporating interviews with community leaders, politicians, journalists, and business people, as well as periodical and popular literature on Miami, this book examines how social constructs emerge and become accepted, as well as how these definitions reflect the pull of vested interests locally, nationally, and even internationally. Croucher draws on literature that emphasizes the manipulative power of language and the nature of meaning in a group context, while keeping in mind materialconditions, class inequalities, and the ways in which global forces influence the urban condition.

Croucher's approach has implications for understanding ethnicity that extend well beyond the confines of metropolitan Miami. Given the social, political, and economic problems the nation now faces, Miami may well be the bellwether of urban American issues in the future. Imagining Miami will be essential reading for students and scholars of ethnicity, as well as those interested in urban politics, social conflict, and race relations.

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