SOCIAL RELATIONS SPATIALLY FIXED: CONSTRUCTION AND MAINTENANCE OF SCHOOL DISTRICTS IN SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS

Authors

  • Christine M. Drennon

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    • Dr. Drennon is an assistant professor of geography in the Urban Studies Program at Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas 78212.


Abstract

ABSTRACT. More than 140 court cases filed in the United States between 1970 and 2003 argued that unacceptable and unconstitutional funding disparities exist among school districts in most states. In those arguments, stories, statistics, and maps are used to compare various school districts to prove that conditions are indeed unequal. Both sides—plaintiff and defendant—use such information to disprove each other's contentions. In so doing, each assumes that the political spaces of the school districts are absolute, timeless, and independent. Failure to recognize that these spaces—the school districts—are not objective but, in fact, constitutive of the class and race relations actually being argued and debated in court further legitimates local geographies of privilege and deprivation. I examine the formation of the school districts around San Antonio, Texas to illustrate that these districts are far from independent of one another and were formed to isolate privileged communities from the rest of the city. A relational view of space-time allows such spaces as school districts to assume a political role, as opposed to the absolute, independent spaces they now represent.

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