Oil Extraction and the Development of City Character: The Cases of Santa Barbara and Ventura, California
K. E. Paulsen1, W. Freudenburg2, and H. Molotch3
1Sociology, Anthropology, & Criminal Justice, Univ of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL
2Rural Sociology and Environmental Studies, Univ of Wisconsin— Madison, Madison, WI
3Sociology and Metropolitan Studies, New York Univ, New York, NY
Any traveler knows that cities have something like a “character” that distinguishes one from the next. Distinctions among places stem from the kinds of people who make their homes within a city’s borders, the kinds of goods and service available, and, relatedly, the industries that both support a city and are supported by it. Industries may lend cities well-known characters, whether as “hog butcher for the world,” or more generically as high tech centers or oil towns. Oil development can impact cities it touches in pronounced ways, bringing not only economic booms (and busts), but also shaping the culture of a place and influencing local political processes. How then can we understand the distinct characters of Santa Barbara and Ventura California, two cities just thirty miles apart, that benefited from oil development during their early history? Santa Barbara came to known as a center of environmental activism and an international tourist destination, while Ventura supported oil development with local labor and technology as well as pro-oil political sentiment. By examining the way that oil interacted with other elements of local economies, the timing of oil development, and even the manner in which oil was pulled from the earth, we can being to understand how these cities that might have been so similar are today so distinct.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90904©2001 AAPG Pacific Section Meeting, Universal City, California