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This is the city : making model citizens in…

This is the city : making model citizens in Los Angeles

by Ronald J. Schmidt

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Schmidt reveals how the political culture of Southern California is structured by over a century's worth of efforts to exhort citizens to emulate models of virtue and to coerce them to imitate models of passive behavior. This book traces this effort to "script" the city's social life, demonstrating how democratic pedagogy and popular media have been used to advance a utopian vision of government. In a history peopled by outsized characters like Harrison Gray Otis, first publisher of the L.A. Times, and studio moguls Louis B. Mayer and Jack Warner, Schmidt shows how Angeleno elites, from media mavens to the militaristic heroes of the LAPD, have offered themselves as models of civic virtue and have used popular culture and political rhetoric to consolidate their power and remake the city in their image. Schmidt argues that the political education provided by L.A. elites has been intentionally imperial and hierarchical, and that a transformation of the city's politics will require a confrontation of its models of civic participation.… (more)

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