The Libidinal Economy of Housing and Latinx Political Economies of Belonging in Northeast Los Angeles

Authors: Luis Trujillo*, UCR
Topics: Ethnicity and Race, Urban Geography, Landscape
Keywords: Latinx Geographies, Racial Landscapes, Gentrification
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/11/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 50
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper focuses on the racial logics/ outcomes of housing financialization in Los Angeles through the lens of Latinx anti-displacement urbanisms. My conclusions are based on my time with an anti-displacement collective known as the Northeast Los Angeles Alliance (NELA Alliance). We started in 2014 as a response to the post-recession resurgence of the housing market and speculative finance’s predation on low income and immigrant tenants/ communities in NELA. Our multi-pronged approach to gentrification engaged it on the levels of cultural erasure, economic displacement, and state-sponsored “racial banishment” (Ananya Roy). Using Kris Manjapra’s concept of “necrospeculation” within an afro-pessimist analysis of libidinal economies and alongside readings of the mortgage as a bio-political tool, method of dispossession, and barrier to the possibility of grounded relationality (Melissa Garcia-Lamarca and Maria Kaika, K Sue Park, Jodi Byrd et al.), I argue that the necro-political mediates the bio-political inculcations of Latinx subjects and that the aesthetic dimensions of Latinidad become a site of contestation where the internal negotiations and entanglements with the legacies/ structures of anti-blackness and de-indigeneity in Latin America are transposed and translated onto US terms. To that end, I insist that we read Los Angeles’ housing market as a libidinal economic structure (Jared Sexton and Frank Wilderson) that begets a political economy of belonging where the anti-value of “surplus life” (Craig Willse) creates a potential for profit in the commodification of non-Black Latinx bodies, homes, neighborhoods and urbanisms.

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