Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Kevin A. Yelvington, D.Phil.

Committee Member

Susan D. Greenbaum, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kiran C. Jayaram, Ph.D.


Applied Anthropology, Community Development, Community Organizing, Fort Lauderdale, Inequality, Manufactured Housing


The cyclical inflations of real estate values right before the 2008 housing crisis in the United States enticed mobile home park landowners, especially in California and Florida, to sell their land in the search for spectacular profits displacing many low-income residents. This thesis uses an engaged anthropological ethnographic approach to explore the struggle in organizing against neoliberal crony capitalist displacement in the South Florida metropolitan area. The study focuses on Davie, a suburb of Fort Lauderdale, where at the time of fieldwork a third of residents lived in mobile homes. In 2007, the Davie town council attempted to soften the impact of past

neoliberal policies that produced the affordable housing crisis at that time. However, the effort was just a temporary solution as the town council, along with crony capitalists, had already created long-term plans for the area. This was just another demonstration of the tremendous power of mobile home park landowners who wielded influence on Florida state lawmakers, local city councils, and bureaucrats that can be easily traced to the 1980s.

While mobile home park residents demonstrated the hallmarks of a divided working class under neoliberal ideologies and pressures, the author employed applied anthropological methods to attempt to bridge divides among mobile home park residents, promoting mutual education and political action. The author argues for the use of participatory action research methods to provide for more holistic community decisions. A number of applied recommendations arise from this research. They include better training in anthropology departments for students who wish to pursue community organizing opportunities, as well as structural changes to representative democracy at the local, state and national level to contest crony capitalist implementations of neoliberalism. Through collaborations in an explicitly anti-racist and anti-classist manner, stakeholders can come to common ground to respect people’s basic human rights to housing, and provide for a more just economy.