Title page for ETD etd-1111103-101742

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Watts, Paul
Author's Email Address pwatts1@lsu.edu
URN etd-1111103-101742
Title Revisiting the 1992 Los Angeles Riots: An Analysis of Geographical Perspectives
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Geography & Anthropology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Dydia DeLyser Committee Chair
Andrew Curtis Committee Member
Miles Richardson Committee Member
  • Los Angeles
  • geography of riots
  • public protests
  • non-representational theory
  • riots
Date of Defense 2003-10-31
Availability unrestricted
The intent of this thesis is to investigate the complexities of the 1992 Los Angeles riots from a spatial perspective. To study the 1992 Los Angeles riots is an attempt to understand dynamic and unpredictable events, events that can result in multiple deaths, vast property damage, and leave irrevocable scars on a community for years. It is these reasons that should call geographers to the challenges of studying riots.

Part of this thesis is to critically evaluate previous quantitative work on the 1992 Los Angeles riots and to argue for a new investigative approach in understanding riots in general. My goal is not to abandon inquiry through quantitative methods, nor to discount findings from previous work, but to start looking into qualitative methods that have applied applications, which will undoubtedly produce new insights to the spatial distribution of damage, as well as to the human networks produced during rioting.

Ultimately, to approach the study of riots from both qualitative and quantitative perspectives is ideal, blending the two equally powerful methodologies that would position observant participation and ethnography side-by-side with thematic mapping and statistical analysis. This well-rounded approach is possibly the only way to truly explain the complexities of human agency during a chaotic event. Thus, a complementary blending between the two methodologies is the best-case scenario for the study of riots.

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