Discourse and Destruction
City of Philadelphia Versus MOVE
By (author) Robin Erica Wagner-Pacifici
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Discourse and Destruction by Robin Erica Wagner-Pacifici
Book DescriptionIn the early 1980s, the radical group MOVE settled into a rowhouse in a predominantly African-American neighborhood of west Philadelphia, beginning years of confrontations with neighbours and police over its anti-establishment ways and militant stance against all social and political institutions. On May 13, 1985, following a period of increased MOVE activity and threats by neighbours to take matters into their own hands, the city moved from bureaucratic involvement to violent intervention. Police bullhorned arrest warrants, hosed down the rowhouse, sprayed tear gas through its walls and dropped explosives from a helicopter. By the end of the day, eleven MOVE members were dead, an entire block of the neighbourhood was destroyed, and Mayor Wilson Goode was calling for an investigation. How did this struggle between the city and MOVE go from memos and meetings to tear gas and bombs? And how does the mandate to defend public order become a destructive force? Sifting through the hearings that followed the deadly encounter, Robin Wagner-Pacifici reconstructs the conflict between MOVE and the city of Philadelphia. Against this account, in which the participants - from the mayor and the police officers to members of MOVE and their neighbours - offer opposing versions of their aims, assumptions and strategies, Wagner-Pacifici develops an analysis of the relation between definition and action, between language and violence. Was MOVE simply a radical, black separatist group with an alternative way of life? Or was it a terrorist cult that held a neighbourhood and politicians hostage to its offensive language and bizarre behaviour? This book shows how competing definitions of MOVE led to different strategies for managing the conflict.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780226869773
(250mm x 200mm x 14mm)
Imprint: University of Chicago Press
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Publish Date: 1-Nov-1993
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Robin Erica Wagner-Pacifici
Art of Surrender, Paperback (September 2006)
Explores the ritual concessions as acts of warfare, performances of submission, demonstrations of power, and representations of shifting, unstable worlds. The author considers the limits of sovereignty at conflict's end, showing how the ways we concede loss can be as important as the ways we claim victory.
Theorizing the Standoff, Paperback (March 2000)View all books by Robin Erica Wagner-Pacifici
In this book, theoretical analysis and real life case studies are combined to explore the nature of the standoff.
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