Shame and Anxiety Gentrification, Unconscious Expressions, and ‘LAcanian Landscapes’ in Los Angeles, CA

Authors: Nazanin Naraghi*, College of the Canyons
Topics: Cultural Geography, Landscape, Urban Geography
Keywords: the unconscious, landscape, gentrification, Highland Park Los Angeles, shame, and anxiety
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 12:40 PM / 2:20 PM
Room: Ambassador Ballroom, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper unpacks the tense and uneasy inter-connections between gentrification and reinvestment, whiteness and native populations, and the landscapes of unconscious expressions, such as shame and anxiety that have emerged in the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood of Highland Park in Los Angeles, CA. The affects of shame and anxiety, as theorized by Jacques Lacan, are explored as a way of entering into a dialogue with how predominantly, white, educated, upwardly mobile gentrifiers are expressing shame and anxiety onto the urban landscapes of this contested community. Building on existing research considering landscapes, the psyche, and society this paper considers three main questions. First, what are shame and anxiety in Lacanian terms and how might these concepts be useful for research on gentrification? Second, how might we explore the causes of shame and anxiety for white Los Angelenos in Highland Park, CA? Third, how can we adequately theorize and recognize the expressions of these complex affects in the urban landscape? I consider how the articulation of these uneasy affects as expressed in the urban landscape might further human geographical inquiry into the intersections between the politics and ethics of city building and the unconscious.

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