Neoliberalism and the politics of land use in post-Katrina Mississippi

Open Access
Derickson, Kate Driscoll
Graduate Program:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
August 26, 2010
Committee Members:
  • James Mc Carthy, Dissertation Advisor/Co-Advisor
  • James Mc Carthy, Committee Chair/Co-Chair
  • Lorraine Dowler, Committee Chair/Co-Chair
  • Melissa Wright, Committee Member
  • John Philip Christman, Committee Member
  • Jamie Peck, Committee Member
  • neoliberalism
  • land use
  • urban politics
  • Hurricane Katrina
While scholarly work in critical geography on the neoliberalization of urban governance has been widely influenced by the Regulation Approach, emphasizing the embedded nature of the economy in institutional relationships, it has neglected to explore the role of cultural politics in explaining uneven development and facilitating the stability of capital accumulation. Drawing on three years of research on coastal Mississippi, this study explores the role of cultural politics in explaining the uneven geographies of recovery from Hurricane Katrina. Building on subsequent engagements with “first generation” regulation-theoretic analysis that attempt to flesh out a conception of the relationship between cultural politics and accumulation, I argue that in coastal Mississippi, the material space necessary to remake the built environment in ways more amenable to neoliberal urban governance has been created through disinvestment in poor neighborhoods of color. That disinvestment, in turn, has been legitimized through notions of the alleged pathologies of race and poverty. I then consider the political implications of various modes of engagement with the redevelopment process in light of this theoretical framework.