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Black Lives and Spatial MattersPolicing Blackness and Practicing Freedom in Suburban St. Louis$
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Jodi Rios

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501750465

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501750465.001.0001

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Discursive Regimes and Everyday Practices

Discursive Regimes and Everyday Practices

(p.111) 4 Discursive Regimes and Everyday Practices
Black Lives and Spatial Matters

Jodi Rios

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the discursive regimes—the making and unmaking of truth—upon which cultural politics in North St. Louis County relies. The cultural politics of space deploys culture as a regulatory discourse to produce spatial imaginaries and social meanings that explain disparity as a “natural consequence” of inferior Black culture. Using a discursively produced cultural politics of suburban citizenship and capitalizing on expectations of suffering in spaces qualified as urban, leaders, administrators, and judges police residents. An emphasis on “good suburban citizens” is clearly part of the politics of truth used by leaders in North St. Louis County to justify state violence. Antiblackness, which is historically dependent on a dialectical construct of civilization and its other, is thus embedded in a localized understanding of citizenship and the terms for belonging. Modern interpretations of good citizenship based on capital accumulation further set the terms for good suburban subjects as functions of self-reliance and consumption that reinforce a self-perpetuating cycle of capitalism. This results in complex and nuanced relationships of race, space, and power that cannot be reduced to simplified readings of economic rationalism, identity politics, or racial imbalances in the police force.

Keywords:   discursive regimes, cultural politics, North St. Louis County, Black culture, suburban citizenship, state violence, antiblackness, capitalism, good citizenship

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