Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Political Science


Ruth O'Brien

Subject Categories

American Politics | Race and Ethnicity | Social Control, Law, Crime, and Deviance | Urban Studies and Planning


Los Angeles, neoliberalism, repression, Mexican American


The purpose of this paper is to explore the effects of Los Angeles’s city myth on the lived realities of its minority populations. I assert that the abstract erasure of the city’s Mexican past is mirrored in the physical concealment and removal of its minority populations. This paper pays particular attention to the ways in which the city’s foundational myth is intertwined with both the racialization of Mexican-Americans in the early 20th century and the rising prominence of neoliberal urbanism in the latter half of the 20th century. The LAPD and city council’s racialization of Mexican-Americans as dangerous and undesirable elements of society coincided with neoliberal redevelopment projects of the 1980s, which sought to remove people from city streets. Los Angeles’s positioning as the model for a metropolitan utopia at the end of the frontier age has allowed private and public interests to create a repressive apparatus, as exemplified through its twin policies of containment and concealment, to control the daily lives of Mexican-Americans.



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