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Ideology, Consciousness, and Inner‐city Redevelopment: The Case of Stephen Goldsmith's Indianapolis

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This article examines the impact of a mayor's ideology in shaping the political consciousness of prominent actors associated with community development and revitalizing distressed neighborhoods. Deviating from the pragmatic approaches to governing of many other recent mayors, Mayor Stephen Goldsmith of Indianapolis advocated a populist ideology based on limited government and citizen empowerment. Close inspection of Goldsmith's community development policies, however, reveals a surprisingly extensive deployment of public power and resources along with efforts to empower neighborhood organizations. Goldsmith's mixture of populist rhetoric and progressive behavior produced a contradictory consciousness among community leaders. Although virtually all applauded the mayor's emphasis on popular empowerment, some developed a populist distrust of government while others came to insist on aggressive government intervention as the key to neighborhood revitalization. Such conflicted perceptions about the role of government have simultaneously inhibited revitalization efforts while laying a cultural foundation for future activism within Indianapolis's neighborhoods.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Haverford College

Publication date: 2003-02-01

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