Episode 02 — Esta Tienda Me Importa Mucho               

Brady Collins

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The COVID-19 pandemic reminds us that the most essential of “essential businesses” is the supermarket. During the crisis, markets have become spaces of anxiety and connection. We struggle with lines and the limited availability of goods. Yet we also see more than ever our neighbors and their families. We realize how much our society and our economy rely on the labor of supermarket workers. We witness the mutuality of our current condition. In Los Angeles, the global, postmodern metropolis, ethnic supermarkets also foreground the multitude of overlapping identities in shared urban space.

In this episode, I take listeners on a sonic journey through the mosaic of ethnic markets in Central Los Angeles. In doing so, I discuss my research on the importance of ethnic markets to community identity and how that identity is threatened by gentrification, a process that is likely to accelerate due to the pandemic. For me, these markets are portals through which we can witness the fundamental inequities of the city. And as a scholar, they force me to interrogate my own positionality in relationship to immigrant communities and communities of color.

Collins, Brady (2019). The View from the Salad Bowl: Community Place Attachment in Multiethnic Los Angeles. Cities 94, 256-274

Collins, Brady (2018). Whose Culture, Whose Neighborhood? Fostering and Resisting Neighborhood Change in the Multiethnic Enclave. Journal of Planning Education and Research 0739456X18755496

Loukaitou-Sideris, Anastasia (2000). The Byzantine-Latino Quarter: Creating Community in Los Angeles’ Inner City. DISP 140, 16-22

Brady Collins is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Cal Poly Pomona, where he is also the Director of the Masters in Public Administration program and Faculty Fellow at the California Center for Ethics and Policy. Having spent several years as a policy advocate in the housing and labor movement in Los Angeles, much of his teaching and research is focused on Los Angeles, though he has also studied urbanism in Barcelona, Tokyo, and Shanghai. His areas of expertise are in community and economic development, neighborhood governance, and urban politics. More generally, Brady’s research lies at the intersection of the spatial, sociocultural, and political aspects of urbanism, and seeks to forge new relationships between the built environment and local politics. He teaches courses on public policy, qualitative methods, and urban governance. He received his Ph.D in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of California, Los Angeles, and an MA in Political Science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.