A People's History of Detroit

A People's History of Detroit

by Mark Jay, Philip Conklin


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Recent bouts of gentrification and investment in Detroit have led some to call it the greatest turnaround story in American history. Meanwhile, activists point to the city's cuts to public services, water shutoffs, mass foreclosures, and violent police raids. In A People's History of Detroit, Mark Jay and Philip Conklin use a class framework to tell a sweeping story of Detroit from 1913 to the present, embedding Motown's history in a global economic context. Attending to the struggle between corporate elites and radical working-class organizations, Jay and Conklin outline the complex sociopolitical dynamics underlying major events in Detroit's past, from the rise of Fordism and the formation of labor unions, to deindustrialization and the city's recent bankruptcy. They demonstrate that Detroit's history is not a tale of two cities—one of wealth and development and another racked by poverty and racial violence; rather it is the story of a single Detroit that operates according to capitalism's mandates.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781478007883
Publisher: Duke University Press Books
Publication date: 04/17/2020
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Mark Jay is a PhD candidate in sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Philip Conklin is a PhD student in the History of Consciousness at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

They are coeditors of the literary and political magazine The Periphery.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments  xi
Introduction. Marx in Detroit  1
1. A Tale of One City, c. 1913–2018  17
2. Fordism and the So-Called Golden Years, c. 1913–1960  75
3. The Conditions of the Great Rebellion, c. 1960–1967  129
4. Revolutionaries and Counterrevolutionaries, c. 1967–1973  155
5. Post-Fordism and Mass Incarceration, c. 1974–2013  195
Conclusion. Competing Visions for Detroit's New Era  221
Notes  231
Bibliography  285
Index  299

What People are Saying About This

Revolutionaries to Race Leaders: Black Power and the Making of African American Politics - Cedric Johnson

“In this intellectually stimulating, bold, and panoramic treatment of Detroit, Mark Jay and Philip Conklin render in fine detail the processes that produce both tremendous wealth and misery. Their work is a powerful antidote to recurrent narratives of market triumphalism, from Ford's five-dollar day to the postwar promises of the affluent society and the casino capitalism touted during the Archer, Kilpatrick, and Bing years. This book is a much-needed account of Detroit's evolution.”

Alberto Toscano

A People's History of Detroit finally allows us to look beyond the mythology of the Motor City, the ruin porn, and the boosterism, and to grasp the dialectic of redevelopment and dispossession, accumulation and abandonment, that has defined its history for a century. Mark Jay and Philip Conklin's book is a model of militant research, recovering the city's traditions of resistance and revealing the staggering human cost behind the hype about the ‘New Detroit.’”

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