Discussion Questions for Detropia
Choose one of the following prompts to discuss in one to two paragraphs.
1. In the LA Times the reviewer of Detropia wrote, “Though the specifics may be Detroit’s, this is a quintessentially American story and that theme echoes through the film.” In what ways is this or is this not a film that reflects a greater American story? Consider some of multiple challenges faced by cities due to “the rise of industry and the demise of industry as we know it” as one person in the film put it.
2. The film largely relies on the points of view of Crystal (a young video blogger), George (a union president), and Tommy (a retired teacher and nightclub owner) to highlight what Detroiters have been experiencing. Choose at least one of the above to discuss how their emic (insider) perspective can be useful in understanding what has been happening in Detroit. What other etic (outsider) knowledge would be needed to get a fuller picture of this story? What questions does the film leave unanswered?
3. One critique of the film has been that it offers little in the way of solutions. Urban planners suggested a proposal based on large scale relocation and consolidation of city residents. Others have hoped for a “Brooklyn style” revitalization based on attracting young people and artists. What may be the downsides of these strategies? What might be some alternatives?