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Popular Culture in the Age of White Flight: Fear and Fantasy in Suburban Los Angeles (American Crossroads #13)

3.83  ·  Rating Details  ·  99 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
Los Angeles pulsed with economic vitality and demographic growth in the decades following World War II. This vividly detailed cultural history of L.A. from 1940 to 1970 traces the rise of a new suburban consciousness adopted by a generation of migrants who abandoned older American cities for Southern California's booming urban region. Eric Avila explores expressions of thi ...more
Paperback, 328 pages
Published April 1st 2006 by University of California Press (first published 2004)
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Jul 18, 2012 Andrea rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book, both in the fascinating cultural history and insight into mass culture and suburbanization that it achieved, and in thinking about the articulations of race and space which it doesn't quite manage to draw out. They are stated though, and provocative, and while the book doesn't really deal with the literature emerging from the spatial turn (while also coining the term racial term), it is a good start.

Broadly speaking, this is a study of culture and race
I argue that de
Los Angeles provides the terrain for the unfolding of a particular story of American progress. Avila’s work reveals a process in which consumerist, suburbanized communities were shaped by the exclusionary forces of containment, whether it was the creation of a homogenized white identity which incorporated ethnic groups previously outside popular definition of whiteness, the construction of ethnically homogenous neighborhoods in the suburbs and the de facto establishment of same in areas vacated ...more
Kim Fay
Mar 21, 2015 Kim Fay rated it really liked it
In researching my new novel, I am trying to understand the racial dynamics in regard to the geography of Los Angeles. This book was an eye opener. It explains how the suburban spread of the mid-1900s, combined with housing covenants that excluded most races, created "trapped" urban areas - which were then appropriated/divided for public use (freeways, Dodger stadium), furthering splintering communities already at risk. There is a lot of repetition, and I wish there were more first-hand accounts ...more
Sep 27, 2015 Courtney rated it really liked it
I would have rated this higher but it's actually the second time I've read the book. About 5 years ago it was assigned in a California Cultures class and it was much more exciting information. Exciting, meaning, "oh god I'll never look at Dodger Stadium the same."

Reading it for the second time, some things bothered me about the Disney section. Like the insistence that Walt was trying to educate the public (which he was not) and missed opportunities in discussing aspects of the park. The berm got
Mar 07, 2014 Emily rated it liked it
Shelves: school
In "chocolate cities" and "vanilla suburbs," Avila studies the formation of LA race relations, in particular the formation of a white suburban identity in the post-war period, through popular culture and space. He argues that LA is a perfect case study for observing the larger transitions of American politics from New Deal liberalism to the conservative new right, the rise of new mass culture forms such as TV and shopping malls, and the construction of new types of spaces such as mega ball parks ...more
I thought his arguments were interesting but at times a little too forced to be completly convincing for me. Otherwise I think he makes excellent points and focuses the book very well around the three primary hinges of cinema, the construciton of Disney Land, and the consturction of Dodger stadium. He of course mentions the construction of highways and urban renewal projects but his main foci are those three things.
Jan 10, 2013 Ellen marked it as incomplete
Read selected chapters for an American Studies course on California Cultures. This book held enlightening information about the history of California that I recommend everyone to read, especially if you've ever resided in the state.
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