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Patrolling The Plaza: Privatized Public Space And The Neoliberal State In Downtown Los Angeles

Marina Peterson
Urban Anthropology and Studies of Cultural Systems and World Economic Development
Vol. 35, No. 4, Anthropologies of Urbanization (WINTER, 2006), pp. 355-386
Published by: The Institute, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40553528
Page Count: 32
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Patrolling The Plaza: Privatized Public Space And The Neoliberal State In Downtown Los Angeles
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Abstract

Privatized public space reflects a current moment in the ongoing negotiation of the relationship between the state and the market that is a central concern of liberalism. The configuration of this relationship has consequences for the nature of citizenship and democracy in theory and practice. Emblematic of a shift to the privatization of urban public space, California Plaza provides a case by which to examine the multiscalar interests and machinations of the neoliberal state in practice. Exploring the meanings of public and private that are produced by a corporate plaza enables an assessment of how privatized public space helps constitute contemporary citizenship. Institutional and legal frameworks serve as a foundation for the relative publicness of the corporate plaza.Techniques of exclusion and control through design features and security measures exclude errant bodies and regulate the seamlessness of the desired public. At the same time, counter practices indicate the emergence of spaces and subjects that destabilize presumed notions of public and private.

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