Neighborhood governance reform and networks of community power in Los Angeles

Musso J. A., Weare C., Oztas N., Loges W. E.

AMERICAN REVIEW OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION, vol.36, no.1, pp.79-97, 2006 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 36 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/0275074005282586
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.79-97
  • Keywords: democracy, governance, network, neighborhood, social capital, Los Angeles, DEMOCRACY
  • Gazi University Affiliated: No


This article applies network theory to consider the effects of neighborhood council reform on city governance in Los Angeles. The authors argue that neighborhood councils have the potential to change elite-dominated governance through several network effects: development of bridging social capital-network relationships that cross-cut traditional community cleavages, broadening of horizontal networks that improve information required for collective action, and creation of new ties that elevate previously peripheral groups in the system of political communication. Based on field research and a network survey of neighborhood council board members, the authors find that although bonding ties help facilitate collective action, they also maintain social stratification because they develop between similar groups and involve status seeking. The development of weaker bridging ties among more diverse groups appears to promote mobilization through information sharing. Thus, bonding and bridging ties appear to play complementary roles in promoting information dissemination and mobilization among neighborhood councils.