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Neoliberal public policies and living conditions of poor black communities in the United States under Ronald Reagan (1981-1988): the Los Angeles case

Grant number: 18/03022-9
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2018
Effective date (End): April 30, 2022
Field of knowledge:Humanities - History - History of America
Principal researcher:Felipe Pereira Loureiro
Grantee:Michel Gomes da Rocha
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


This project aims to analyze the formulation, implementation and perception of public policy during Ronald Reagan's republican government in the United States (1981-1988), focusing on its impact on the living conditions of poor black communities in Los Angeles . Studies point out that the prohibition of racial segregation, instituted in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the expansion of public policies in the areas of education, health and housing, blacks, the poor and minorities in general would have experienced progress in their living conditions. However, this improvement was strongly affected not only by the North American recession of the early 1980s, mainly due to the rise in the general price level and unemployment, but also by the reduction in the coverage of social programs (many of which were transferred to the initiative private partnership during the Reagan administration), the resurgence of the so-called "war on drugs," and a zero tolerance policy against crime. Scholars also argue that the drastic increase in the number of incarcerations in the United States during this period, which affected primarily black populations, would have demonstrated the limits of the post-racial segregation era. Many of these works, however, present an overly comprehensive perspective, failing to analyze how, at the local level, black communities would have perceived and reacted to this adverse situation. From this perspective, using a wide range of sources, such as newspapers, magazines, speeches from government actors, interviews with subjects that militarize and publications with statistical percentages, this doctoral project will take as reference the city of Los Angeles in California, a place considered reference of social movements that contested better living conditions for blacks in the period. It is hoped that, with this, we can collaborate for an understanding of the perception and mobilization of political actors who lived in the city of public policies that directly affected their lives. (AU)

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