Fighting in the streets: Ethnic succession, competition, and riot violence in four American cities
AuthorHerman, Max Authur
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis research addresses where and why interethnic violence occurred during four major urban riots of the 20th Century: The Chicago Riot of 1919, The Detroit Riot of 1943, the Miami Riot of 1980, and the Los Angeles Riot of 1992. Employing a multi-method approach, including historical accounts, statistical modeling of census data, and geographic information systems (GIS) analysis, I investigate whether an explanatory model combining elements of ethnic succession and competition perspectives on riot violence is generalizable to both recent riot events in Miami and Los Angeles and earlier riots in Chicago and Detroit. Such explanation emphasizes the effects of internal and international migration on the racial/ethnic composition of neighborhoods, competition for jobs and housing, and the intensity of riot violence at the census tract level. I find support for a combined ethnic succession and ethnic competition interpretation of riot violence in all four events. I conclude by highlighting the similar effects of the Great Migration on rioting in Chicago and Detroit and recent waves of immigration on rioting in Miami and Los Angeles. I argue that to make sense of recent rioting in Miami and Los Angeles we must be willing to engage in historical comparisons and examine the local dynamics of inter-ethnic violence in cases past and present. We must look beyond the black/white race relations paradigm towards a general model of collective violence that is independent of the specific actors involved, a model that takes the changing racial/ethnic composition of American cities into account.
Degree ProgramGraduate College