California State University, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
California State University, Long Beach, California, U.S.A.
The nature of conflict in cities in postindustrial America has grown increasingly complex. In every policy arena the number of participants, the volume of the debate, and the urgency of the situation at hand seem-a lmost as if staged for media consumption-to defy prevention, solution, or even management. Yet if this was literally true, urban America would b e paralyzed. This chapter looks at the role of community partnerships in governance in one American city, Los Angeles. Los Angeles is often described as a bellwether city, portending the future for the rest of urban America. Our specific case study is of a response to urban conflict that boiled over in 1992: community partnering in the federal Empowerment Zone implemented in Los Angeles. The information presented in this chapter is part of a larger project analyzing governance and community change in Los Angeles, and is the product of in-depth field research and documentary analysis conducted by the authors over the past 5 years.
We begin the task of assessing the role of community partnerships in governance by taking a closer look at the role of conflict in governance. In a necessarily brief overview of conflict theory, we discuss common sources of conflict, differ