Urban Emergency (Mis)Management and the Crisis of Neoliberalism

Flint, MI in Context


Volume Editors: and
This volume places the Flint, Michigan, water contamination disaster in the context of a broader crisis of neoliberal governance in the United States. Authors from a range of disciplines (including sociology, criminal justice, anthropology, history, communications, and jurisprudence) examine the failures in Flint, but with an emphasis upon comparison, calling attention to similar trajectories for cities like Detroit and Pontiac, in Michigan, and Stockton, in California. While the studies collected here emphasize policy failures, class conflict, and racial oppression, they also attend to the resistance undertaken by Flint residents, Michiganders, and U.S. activists, as they fought for environmental and social justice.

Contributors include: Terressa A. Benz, Jon Carroll, Graham Cassano, Daniel J. Clark, Katrinell M. Davis, Michael Doan, David Fasenfest, A.E. Garrison, Peter J. Hammer, Ami Harbin, Shea Howell, Jacob Lederman, Raoul S. Lievanos, Benjamin J. Pauli, and Julie Sze.

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Terressa A. Benz received her Ph.D in Criminology, Law and Society from the University of California, Irvine (2011). She is the author, most recently, of Black Femininity and Stand Your Ground: Controlling Images and the Elusive Defense of Self-Defense (Critical Sociology, forthcoming).

Graham Cassano received his Ph.D in Sociology from Brandeis University (1991). He is the author of numerous books and articles on social theory, racial and ethnic history, and the sociology of culture, including A New Kind of Public: Community, Solidarity, and Political Economy in New Deal Cinema, 1935-1948 (Brill, 2014).
"This book will be especially valuable to students and scholars of post-industrial metropolitan governments facing economic and/or environmental crises."
--J.F. Bauman, emeritus, California University of Pennsylvania, USA. In CHOICE vol. 59 no. 10 (June 2022).
List of Figures and Tables
Notes on Contributors

Introduction: The Flint Sacrifice Zone
  Terressa A. Benz and Graham Cassano

Structure in Context

1 Neoliberalism, Urban Policy and Environmental Degradation
  David Fasenfest

2 Colorblind Michigan
The Legal Impossibility of Environmental Justice in Flint and Southwest Detroit
  Terressa A. Benz

3 Stockton Isn’t Flint, or Is It? Race and Space in Comparative Crisis Driven Urbanization
  Raoul S. Liévanos and Julie Sze

4 Too Close to Home
The Incidence and Health Effects of Neighborhood Neglect in Flint, Michigan
  Katrinell M. Davis

5 Housing Waste
The Lakeside Public Housing Complex, Pontiac, Michigan
  Graham Cassano, Jon Carroll and Daniel J. Clark

Reaction and Resistance

6 Technocracy and Populism
Remaking Urban Governance in Post-Democratic Flint
  Jacob Lederman

7 Waging Love from Detroit to Flint
  Michael Doan, Shea Howell and Ami Harbin

8 Bottling Public Thirst
Scarcity, Abundance, and the Exploitation of “Need” in Mid-Michigan
  A.E. Garrison

9 Lead Does (Not) Discriminate
Environmental Racism in Expert and Popular Discourse
  Benjamin J. Pauli

 Afterword: The Flint Water Crisis, KWA and Strategic-Structural Racism
Written Testimony Submitted to the Michigan Civil Rights Commission Hearings on the Flint Water Crisis
  Peter J. Hammer


All interested in the Flint water crisis, racial and ethnic relations, urban history, city planning, environmental and urban sociology, as well as students of social movements, and citizen activists.
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