When people look at success stories among postcolonial nations, the focus almost always turns to Asia, where many cities in former colonies have become key locations of international commerce and culture. This book brings together a stellar group of scholars from a number of disciplines to explore the rise of Asian cities, including Singapore, Macau, Hong Kong, and more. Dealing with history, geography, culture, architecture, urbanism, and other topics, the book attempts to formulate a new understanding of what makes Asian cities such global leaders.
Nicknamed both “Mobtown” and “Charm City” and located on the border of the North and South, Baltimore is a city of contradictions. From media depictions in The Wire to the real-life trial of police officers for the murder of Freddie Gray, Baltimore has become a quintessential example of a struggling American city. Yet the truth about Baltimore is far more complicated—and more fascinating.
To help untangle these apparent paradoxes, the editors of Baltimore Revisited have assembled a collection of over thirty experts from inside and outside academia. Together, they reveal that Baltimore has been ground zero for a slew of neoliberal policies, a place where inequality has increased as corporate interests have eagerly privatized public goods and services to maximize profits. But they also uncover how community members resist and reveal a long tradition of Baltimoreans who have fought for social justice.
The essays in this collection take readers on a tour through the city’s diverse neighborhoods, from the Lumbee Indian community in East Baltimore to the crusade for environmental justice in South Baltimore. Baltimore Revisited examines the city’s past, reflects upon the city’s present, and envisions the city’s future.
When middle-class residents fled American cities in the 1960s and 1970s, government services and investment capital left too. Countless urban neighborhoods thus entered phases of precipitous decline, prompting the creation of community-based organizations that sought to bring direly needed resources back to the inner city. Today there are tens of thousands of these CBOs—private nonprofit groups that work diligently within tight budgets to give assistance and opportunity to our most vulnerable citizens by providing services such as housing, child care, and legal aid.
Through ethnographic fieldwork at eight CBOs in the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Bushwick, Nicole P. Marwell discovered that the complex and contentious relationships these groups form with larger economic and political institutions outside the neighborhood have a huge and unexamined impact on the lives of the poor. Most studies of urban poverty focus on individuals or families, but Bargaining for Brooklyn widens the lens, examining the organizations whose actions and decisions collectively drive urban life.
Building the South Side explores the struggle for influence that dominated the planning and development of Chicago's South Side during the Progressive Era. Robin F. Bachin examines the early days of the University of Chicago, Chicago’s public parks, Comiskey Park, and the Black Belt to consider how community leaders looked to the physical design of the city to shape its culture and promote civic interaction.
Bachin highlights how the creation of a local terrain of civic culture was a contested process, with the battle for cultural authority transforming urban politics and blurring the line between private and public space. In the process, universities, parks and playgrounds, and commercial entertainment districts emerged as alternative arenas of civic engagement.
“Bachin incisively charts the development of key urban institutions and landscapes that helped constitute the messy vitality of Chicago’s late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century public realm.”—Daniel Bluestone, Journal of American History
"This is an ambitious book filled with important insights about issues of public space and its use by urban residents. . . . It is thoughtful, very well written, and should be read and appreciated by anyone interested in Chicago or cities generally. It is also a gentle reminder that people are as important as structures and spaces in trying to understand urban development."
An investigation of the practice of “commoning” in urban housing and its necessity for challenging economic injustice in our rapidly gentrifying cities
Provoked by mass evictions and the onset of gentrification in the 1970s, tenants in Washington, D.C., began forming cooperative organizations to collectively purchase and manage their apartment buildings. These tenants were creating a commons, taking a resource—housing—that had been used to extract profit from them and reshaping it as a resource that was collectively owned by them.
In Carving Out the Commons, Amanda Huron theorizes the practice of urban “commoning” through a close investigation of the city’s limited-equity housing cooperatives. Drawing on feminist and anticapitalist perspectives, Huron asks whether a commons can work in a city where land and other resources are scarce and how strangers who may not share a past or future come together to create and maintain commonly held spaces in the midst of capitalism. Arguing against the romanticization of the commons, she instead positions the urban commons as a pragmatic practice. Through the practice of commoning, she contends, we can learn to build communities to challenge capitalism’s totalizing claims over life.
China Urban is an ethnographic account of China’s cities and the place that urban space holds in China’s imagination. In addition to investigating this nation’s rapidly changing urban landscape, its contributors emphasize the need to rethink the very meaning of the “urban” and the utility of urban-focused anthropological critiques during a period of unprecedented change on local, regional, national, and global levels.
Through close attention to everyday lives and narratives and with a particular focus on gender, market, and spatial practices, this collection stresses that, in the case of China, rural life and the impact of socialism must be considered in order to fully comprehend the urban. Individual essays note the impact of legal barriers to geographic mobility in China, the proliferation of different urban centers, the different distribution of resources among various regions, and the pervasive appeal of the urban, both in terms of living in cities and in acquiring products and conventions signaling urbanity. Others focus on the direct sales industry, the Chinese rock music market, the discursive production of femininity and motherhood in urban hospitals, and the transformations in access to healthcare.
China Urban will interest anthropologists, sociologists, political scientists, and those studying urban planning, China, East Asia, and globalization.
Contributors. Tad Ballew, Susan Brownell, Nancy N. Chen, Constance D. Clark, Robert Efird, Suzanne Z. Gottschang, Ellen Hertz, Lisa Hoffman, Sandra Hyde, Lyn Jeffery, Lida Junghans, Louisa Schein, Li Zhang
Cities and Citizenship
James Holston, ed. Duke University Press, 1998 Library of Congress HT119.C28 1999 | Dewey Decimal 307.76
Cities and Citizenship is a prize-winning collection of essays that considers the importance of cities in the making of modern citizens. For most of the modern era the nation and not the city has been the principal domain of citizenship. This volume demonstrates, however, that cities are especially salient sites for examining the current renegotiations of citizenship, democracy, and national belonging. Just as relations between nations are changing in the current phase of global capitalism, so too are relations between nations and cities. Written by internationally prominent scholars, the essays in Cities and Citizenship propose that “place” remains fundamental to these changes and that cities are crucial places for the development of new alignments of local and global identity. Through case studies from Africa, Europe, Latin America, and North America, the volume shows how cities make manifest national and transnational realignments of citizenship and how they generate new possibilities for democratic politics that transform people as citizens. Previously published as a special issue of Public Culture that won the 1996 Best Single Issue of a Journal Award from the Professional/Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers, the collection showcases a photo essay by Cristiano Mascaro, as well as two new essays by James Holston and Thomas Bender. Cities and Citizenship will interest students and scholars of anthropology, geography, sociology, planning, and urban studies, as well as globalization and political science.
Contributors. Arjun Appadurai, Etienne Balibar, Thomas Bender, Teresa P. R. Caldeira, Mamadou Diouf, Dilip Parameshwar Gaonkar, James Holston, Marco Jacquemet, Christopher Kamrath, Cristiano Mascaro, Saskia Sassen, Michael Watts, Michel Wieviorka
Robert E. Park and Ernest W. Burgess University of Chicago Press, 2019 Library of Congress HT151.P3 2019 | Dewey Decimal 307.76
First published in 1925, The City is a trailblazing text in urban history, urban sociology, and urban studies. Its innovative combination of ethnographic observation and social science theory epitomized the Chicago school of sociology. Robert E. Park, Ernest W. Burgess, and their collaborators were among the first to document the interplay between urban individuals and larger social structures and institutions, seeking patterns within the city’s riot of people, events, and influences. As sociologist Robert J. Sampson notes in his new foreword, though much has changed since The City was first published, we can still benefit from its charge to explain where and why individuals and social groups live as they do.
City and Environment
Christopher G. Boone and Ali Modarres Temple University Press, 2006 Library of Congress HT241.B66 2006 | Dewey Decimal 307.76
For the first time in history, more than half the people of the world live in cities. Comprehending the impact of this widespread urbanization requires an awareness of the complex relationships between cities and natural ecosystems. This innovative book moves beyond the anti-urban lamentations that often dominate today's academic discourse to examine the evolution of cities and to illuminate the roles that humans play in shaping their environments, both natural and constructed. Christopher G. Boone and Ali Modarres argue that understanding the multiple forces of urbanization requires a holistic approach to the interactions of social, cultural, economic, political, and environmental factors. Without casting judgments, City and Environment seeks to engage readers in an exploration of cities from a truly global perspective. Throughout, it illuminates the social-ecological systems of cities not as an academic exercise—although informing academic audiences is one of its goals—but ultimately to help transform cities into livable and ecologically sustainable environments.
Brendan OFLAHERTY Harvard University Press, 2005 Library of Congress HT321.O35 2005 | Dewey Decimal 330.91732
This introductory but innovative textbook on the economics of cities is aimed at students of urban and regional policy as well as of undergraduate economics. It deals with standard topics, including automobiles, mass transit, pollution, housing, and education but it also discusses non-standard topics such as segregation, water supply, sewers, garbage, fire prevention, housing codes, homelessness, crime, illicit drugs, and economic development.
City of Extremes is a powerful critique of urban development in greater Johannesburg since the end of apartheid in 1994. Martin J. Murray describes how a loose alliance of city builders—including real estate developers, large-scale property owners, municipal officials, and security specialists—has sought to remake Johannesburg in the upbeat image of a world-class city. By creating new sites of sequestered luxury catering to the comfort, safety, and security of affluent urban residents, they have produced a new spatial dynamic of social exclusion, effectively barricading the mostly black urban poor from full participation in the mainstream of urban life. This partitioning of the cityscape is enabled by an urban planning environment of limited regulation or intervention into the prerogatives of real estate capital.
Combining insights from urban studies, cultural geography, and urban sociology with extensive research in South Africa, Murray reflects on the implications of Johannesburg’s dual character as a city of fortified enclaves that proudly displays the ostentatious symbols of global integration and the celebrated “enterprise culture” of neoliberal design, and as the “miasmal city” composed of residual, peripheral, and stigmatized zones characterized by signs of a new kind of marginality. He suggests that the “global cities” paradigm is inadequate to understanding the historical specificity of cities in the Global South, including the colonial mining town turned postcolonial megacity of Johannesburg.
The contributors to The City, Revisited trace an intellectual history that begins in 1925 with the publication of the influential classic The City, engaging in a spirited debate about whether the major theories of twentieth-century urban development are relevant for studying the twenty-first-century metropolis.
Contributors: Janet Abu-Lughod, Northwestern U and New School for Social Research; Robert Beauregard, Columbia U; Larry Bennett, DePaul U; Andrew A. Beveridge, Queens College and CUNY; Amy Bridges, U of California, San Diego; Terry Nichols Clark, U of Chicago; Nicholas Dahmann, U of Southern California; Michael Dear, U of California, Berkeley; Steven P. Erie, U of California, San Diego; Frank Gaffikin, Queen's U of Belfast; David Halle, U of California, Los Angeles; Tom Kelly, U of Illinois at Chicago; Ratoola Kunda, U of Illinois at Chicago; Scott A. MacKenzie, U of California, Davis; John Mollenkopf, CUNY; David C. Perry, U of Illinois at Chicago; Francisco Sabatini, Ponticia Universidad Catolica de Chile; Rodrigo Salcedo, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Santiago; Dick Simpson, U of Illinois at Chicago; Daphne Spain, U of Virginia; Costas Spirou, National-Louis U in Chicago.
Social scientists have long argued over the links between crime and place. The authors of Communities and Crime provide an intellectual history that traces how varying images of community have evolved over time and influenced criminological thinking and criminal justice policy.
The authors outline the major ideas that have shaped the development of theory, research, and policy in the area of communities and crime. Each chapter examines the problem of the community through a defining critical or theoretical lens: the community as social disorganization; as a system of associations; as a symptom of larger structural forces; as a result of criminal subcultures; as a broken window; as crime opportunity; and as a site of resilience.
Focusing on these changing images of community, the empirical adequacy of these images, and how they have resulted in concrete programs to reduce crime, Communities and Crime theorizes about and reflects upon why some neighborhoods produce so much crime. The result is a tour of the dominant theories of place in social science today.
Cultures of the City explores the cultural mediation of relationships between people and urban spaces in Latin/o America and how these mediations shape the identities of cities and their residents.
Addressing a broad spectrum of phenomena and disciplinary approaches, the contributors to this volume analyze lived urban experiences and their symbolic representation in cultural texts. Individual chapters explore Havana in popular music; Mexico City in art; Buenos Aires, Recife, and Salvador in film; and Asuncion and Buenos Aires in literature. Others focus on particular events, conditions, and practices of urban life including the Havana book fair, mass transit in Bogotá, the restaurant industry in Los Angeles, the media in Detroit, Andean festivals in Lima, and the photographic record of a visit by members of the Zapatista Liberation Army to Mexico City.
The contributors examine identity and the sense of place and belonging that connect people to urban environments, relating these to considerations of ethnicity, social and economic class, gender, everyday life, and cultural practices. They also consider history and memory and the making of places through the iterative performance of social practices. As such, places are works in progress, a condition that is particularly evident in contemporary Latin/o American cities where the opposition between local and global influences is a prominent facet of daily life.
These core issues are theorized further in an afterword by Abril Trigo, who takes the chapters as a point of departure for a discussion of the dialectics of identity in the Latin/o American global city.
Who really benefits from urban revival? Cities, from trendy coastal areas to the nation’s heartland, are seeing levels of growth beyond the wildest visions of only a few decades ago. But vast areas in the same cities house thousands of people living in poverty who see little or no new hope or opportunity. Even as cities revive, they are becoming more unequal and more segregated. What does this mean for these cities—and the people who live in them?
In The Divided City, urban practitioner and scholar Alan Mallach shows us what has happened over the past 15 to 20 years in industrial cities like Pittsburgh, Detroit, Cleveland, and Baltimore, as they have undergone unprecedented, unexpected revival. He draws from his decades of experience working in America’s cities, and pulls in insightful research and data, to spotlight these changes while placing them in their larger economic, social, and political context. Mallach explores the pervasive significance of race in American cities and looks closely at the successes and failures of city governments, nonprofit entities, and citizens as they have tried to address the challenges of change.
The Divided City offers strategies to foster greater equality and opportunity. Mallach makes a compelling case that these strategies must be local in addition to being concrete and focusing on people’s needs—education, jobs, housing and quality of life. Change, he argues, will come city by city, not through national plans or utopian schemes.
This is the first book to provide a comprehensive, grounded picture of the transformation of America’s older industrial cities. It is neither a dystopian narrative nor a one-sided "the cities are back" story, but a balanced picture rooted in the nitty-gritty reality of these cities. The Divided City is imperative for anyone who cares about cities and who wants to understand how to make today’s urban revival work for everyone.
Garbage, wastewater, hazardous waste: these are the lenses through which Melosi views nineteenth- and twentieth-century America. In broad overviews and specific case studies, Melosi treats the relationship between industrial expansion and urban growth from an ecological perspective.
Environmental Activism and the Urban Crisis focuses on the wave of environmental activism and grassroots movements that swept through America's older, industrial cities during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Robert Gioielli offers incisive case studies of Baltimore, St. Louis, and Chicago to show how urban activism developed as an impassioned response to a host of racial, social, and political conflicts. As deindustrialization, urban renewal, and suburbanization caused the decline of the urban environment, residents--primarily African Americans and working-class whites--organized to protect their families and communities from health threats and environmental destruction.
Gioielli examines various groups' activism in response to specific environmental problems caused by the urban crisis in each city. In doing so, he forms concrete connections between environmentalism, the African American freedom struggle, and various urban social movements such as highway protests in Baltimore and air pollution activism in Chicago. Eventually, the efforts of these activists paved the way for the emergence of a new movement-environmental justice.
Immigration studies have increasingly focused on how immigrant adaptation to their new homelands is influenced by the social structures in the sending society, particularly its economy. Less scholarly research has focused on the ways that the cultural make-up of immigrant homelands influences their adaptation to life in a new country. In Ethnic Origins, Jeremy Hein investigates the role of religion, family, and other cultural factors on immigrant incorporation into American society by comparing the experiences of two little-known immigrant groups living in four different American cities not commonly regarded as immigrant gateways. Ethnic Origins provides an in-depth look at Hmong and Khmer refugees—people who left Asia as a result of failed U.S. foreign policy in their countries. These groups share low socio-economic status, but are vastly different in their norms, values, and histories. Hein compares their experience in two small towns—Rochester, Minnesota and Eau Claire, Wisconsin—and in two big cities—Chicago and Milwaukee—and examines how each group adjusted to these different settings. The two groups encountered both community hospitality and narrow-minded hatred in the small towns, contrasting sharply with the cold anonymity of the urban pecking order in the larger cities. Hein finds that for each group, their ethnic background was more important in shaping adaptation patterns than the place in which they settled. Hein shows how, in both the cities and towns, the Hmong's sharply drawn ethnic boundaries and minority status in their native land left them with less affinity for U.S. citizenship or "Asian American" panethnicity than the Khmer, whose ethnic boundary is more porous. Their differing ethnic backgrounds also influenced their reactions to prejudice and discrimination. The Hmong, with a strong group identity, perceived greater social inequality and supported collective political action to redress wrongs more than the individualistic Khmer, who tended to view personal hardship as a solitary misfortune, rather than part of a larger-scale injustice. Examining two unique immigrant groups in communities where immigrants have not traditionally settled, Ethnic Origins vividly illustrates the factors that shape immigrants' response to American society and suggests a need to refine prevailing theories of immigration. Hein's book is at once a novel look at a little-known segment of America's melting pot and a significant contribution to research on Asian immigration to the United States. A Volume in the American Sociological Association's Rose Series in Sociology
A timely new look at coexisting without assimilating in multicultural cities
If city life is a “being together of strangers,” what forms of being together should we strive for in cities with ethnic and racial diversity? Everyday Equalities seeks evidence of progressive political alternatives to racialized inequality that are emerging from everyday encounters in Los Angeles, Melbourne, Sydney, and Toronto—settler colonial cities that, established through efforts to dispossess and eliminate indigenous societies, have been destinations for waves of immigrants from across the globe ever since.
Everyday Equalities finds such alternatives being developed as people encounter one another in the process of making a home, earning a living, moving around the city, and forming collective actions or communities. Here four leading scholars in critical urban geography come together to deliver a powerful and cohesive message about the meaning of equality in contemporary cities. Drawing on both theoretical reflection and urban ethnographic research, they offer the formulation “being together in difference as equals” as a normative frame to reimagine the meaning and pursuit of equality in today’s urban multicultures.
As the examples in Everyday Equalities indicate, much emotional labor, combined with a willingness to learn from each other, negotiate across differences, and agitate for change goes into constructing environments that foster being together in difference as equals. Importantly, the authors argue, a commitment to equality is not only a hope for a future city but also a way of being together in the present.
Among government officials, urban planners, and development workers, Africa’s burgeoning metropolises are frequently understood as failed cities, unable to provide even basic services. Whatever resourcefulness does exist is regarded as only temporary compensation for fundamental failure. In For the City Yet to Come, AbdouMaliq Simone argues that by overlooking all that does work in Africa’s cities, this perspective forecloses opportunities to capitalize on existing informal economies and structures in development efforts within Africa and to apply lessons drawn from them to rapidly growing urban areas around the world. Simone contends that Africa’s cities do work on some level and to the extent that they do, they function largely through fluid, makeshift collective actions running parallel to proliferating decentralized local authorities, small-scale enterprises, and community associations.
Drawing on his nearly fifteen years of work in African cities—as an activist, teacher, development worker, researcher, and advisor to ngos and local governments—Simone provides a series of case studies illuminating the provisional networks through which most of Africa’s urban dwellers procure basic goods and services. He examines informal economies and social networks in Pikine, a large suburb of Dakar, Senegal; in Winterveld, a neighborhood on the edge of Pretoria, South Africa; in Douala, Cameroon; and among Africans seeking work in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He contextualizes these particular cases through an analysis of the broad social, economic, and historical conditions that created present-day urban Africa. For the City Yet to Come is a powerful argument that any serious attempt to reinvent African urban centers must acknowledge the particular history of these cities and incorporate the local knowledge reflected in already existing informal urban economic and social systems.
In Ghosts of Organizations Past, Dan Ryan asks, “Why are urban communities such hard places to implement community improvement programs?” Looking at New Haven, Connecticut, and a now-defunct program called Fighting Back, which was created to build community coalitions against the abuse of alcohol and other drugs, Ryan shows how the normal properties of organizations generate apparent pathologies. He shows how the “ghosts,” or artifacts, of past organizations, both inhibited and enhanced Fighting Back's chances of success.
Ryan draws on concepts from the study of organizations, social capital, and social networks to re-think questions such as “What kind of thing is a community?” and “Why is it so difficult to build community initiatives out of organizations?” He provides a social organizational explanation for problems familiar to anyone who has been involved in community programs, issues that are usually understood as personal incompetence, turf wars, greed, or corruption.
Ghosts of Organizations Past describes the challenges of using organizations to create change in places in dire need of it.
Few scholars have explored the collective experiences of women living in the inner city and the innovative strategies they develop to navigate daily life in this setting. The Grind illustrates the lived experiences of poor African American women and the creative strategies they develop to manage these events and survive in a community commonly exposed to violence.
Alexis S. McCurn draws on nearly two years of naturalistic field research among adolescents and adults in Oakland, California to provide an ethnographic account of how black women accomplish the routine tasks necessary for basic survival in poor inner-city neighborhoods and how the intersections of race, gender, and class shape how black women interact with others in public. This book makes the case that the daily consequences of racialized poverty in the lives of African Americans cannot be fully understood without accounting for the personal and collective experiences of poor black women.
Fifteen years after the end of a protracted civil and regional war, Beirut broke out in violence once again, forcing residents to contend with many forms of insecurity, amid an often violent political and economic landscape. Providing a picture of what ordinary life is like for urban dwellers surviving sectarian violence, The Insecure City captures the day-to-day experiences of citizens of Beirut moving through a war-torn landscape.
While living in Beirut, Kristin Monroe conducted interviews with a diverse group of residents of the city. She found that when people spoke about getting around in Beirut, they were also expressing larger concerns about social, political, and economic life. It was not only violence that threatened Beirut’s ordinary residents, but also class dynamics that made life even more precarious. For instance, the installation of checkpoints and the rerouting of traffic—set up for the security of the elite—forced the less fortunate to alter their lives in ways that made them more at risk. Similarly, the ability to pass through security blockades often had to do with an individual’s visible markers of class, such as clothing, hairstyle, and type of car. Monroe examines how understandings and practices of spatial mobility in the city reflect social differences, and how such experiences led residents to be bitterly critical of their government.
In The Insecure City, Monroe takes urban anthropology in a new and meaningful direction, discussing traffic in the Middle East to show that when people move through Beirut they are experiencing the intersection of citizen and state, of the more and less privileged, and, in general, the city’s politically polarized geography.
Jane Jacobs: Urban Visionary
Alexiou, Alice S Rutgers University Press, 2006 Library of Congress HT166.A6155 2006 | Dewey Decimal 307.1216092
Today, we take for granted the wisdom of renovating old factory buildings into malls or condos, of making once decaying waterfronts into vibrant public spaces, of protecting historic buildings under landmark laws, and of building public housing on a human scale rather than as high-rises. In contemporary cities, it is now common for community groups to plant gardens in empty lots and to buy abandoned apartment buildings from the city for a dollar and fix them up.
But these and other urban planning policies and practices have not always been accepted. Before they became widespread, they were the visionary ideas of the writer and urban commentator Jane Jacobs. Best known in the United States for her path-breaking efforts to preserve the character of Greenwich Village, Jacobs is the author of the classic 1961 book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, one of the most influential works ever published in urban studies. The architectural critic Herbert Muschamp wrote in the New York Times that its publication “was one of twentieth-century architecture’s most traumatic events. Its impact is still felt in cities across the land.”
In this analysis of Jane Jacobs’s ideas and work, Alice Sparberg Alexiou tells the remarkable story of a woman who without any formal training in planning became a prominent spokesperson for sensible urban change. Besides writing the seminal book about contemporary cities, Jacobs organized successful community battles in New York against powerful interests. She resisted urban renewal in the West Village in the 1960s, helped defeat the Lower Manhattan Expressway, advocated the pleasures of street life that she called “sidewalk ballet,” and opposed the original Twin Towers plans. She was also active in the anti–Vietnam War movement, which eventually led her to move to Canada. There she continued her grass-roots activism, including helping to prevent the construction of an expressway that would have cut through several neighborhoods in Toronto.
Based on a rich array of interviews and primary source material, this book brings long-overdue attention to Jacobs’s far-reaching influence as an original thinker and effective activist.
Johannesburg: The Elusive Metropolis is a pioneering effort to insert South Africa’s largest city into urban theory, on its own terms. Johannesburg is Africa’s premier metropolis. Yet theories of urbanization have cast it as an emblem of irresolvable crisis, the spatial embodiment of unequal economic relations and segregationist policies, and a city that responds to but does not contribute to modernity on the global scale. Complicating and contesting such characterizations, the contributors to this collection reassess classic theories of metropolitan modernity as they explore the experience of “city-ness” and urban life in post-apartheid South Africa. They portray Johannesburg as a polycentric and international city with a hybrid history that continually permeates the present. Turning its back on rigid rationalities of planning and racial separation, Johannesburg has become a place of intermingling and improvisation, a city that is fast developing its own brand of cosmopolitan culture.
The volume’s essays include an investigation of representation and self-stylization in the city, an ethnographic examination of friction zones and practices of social reproduction in inner-city Johannesburg, and a discussion of the economic and literary relationship between Johannesburg and Maputo, Mozambique’s capital. One contributor considers how Johannesburg’s cosmopolitan sociability enabled the anticolonial projects of Mohandas Ghandi and Nelson Mandela. Journalists, artists, architects, writers, and scholars bring contemporary Johannesburg to life in ten short pieces, including reflections on music and megamalls, nightlife, built spaces, and life for foreigners in the city.
Contributors: Arjun Appadurai, Carol A. Breckenridge, Lindsay Bremner, David Bunn, Fred de Vries, Nsizwa Dlamini, Mark Gevisser, Stefan Helgesson, Julia Hornberger, Jonathan Hyslop, Grace Khunou, Frédéric Le Marcis, Xavier Livermon, John Matshikiza, Achille Mbembe, Robert Muponde, Sarah Nuttall, Tom Odhiambo, Achal Prabhala, AbdouMaliq Simone
Today’s American cities and suburbs are the sites of “thick injustice”—unjust power relations that are deeply and densely concentrated as well as opaque and seemingly intractable. Thick injustice is hard to see, to assign responsibility for, and to change.
Identifying these often invisible and intransigent problems, this volume addresses foundational questions about what justice requires in the contemporary metropolis. Essays focus on inequality within and among cities and suburbs; articulate principles for planning, redevelopment, and urban political leadership; and analyze the connection between metropolitan justice and institutional design. In a world that is progressively more urbanized, and yet no clearer on issues of fairness and equality, this book points the way to a metropolis in which social justice figures prominently in any definition of success.
Contributors: Susan S. Fainstein, Harvard U; Richard Thompson Ford, Stanford U; Gerald Frug, Harvard U; Loren King, Wilfrid Laurier U; Margaret Kohn, U of Toronto; Stephen Macedo, Princeton U; Douglas W. Rae, Yale U; Clarence N. Stone, George Washington U; Margaret Weir, U of California, Berkeley; Thad Williamson, U of Richmond.
For the middle class and the affluent, local ties seem to matter less and less these days, but in the inner city, your life can be irrevocably shaped by what block you live on. Living the Drama takes a close look at three neighborhoods in Boston to analyze the many complex ways that the context of community shapes the daily lives and long-term prospects of inner-city boys.
David J. Harding studied sixty adolescent boys growing up in two very poor areas and one working-class area. In the first two, violence and neighborhood identification are inextricably linked as rivalries divide the city into spaces safe, neutral, or dangerous. Consequently, Harding discovers, social relationships are determined by residential space. Older boys who can navigate the dangers of the streets serve as role models, and friendships between peers grow out of mutual protection. The impact of community goes beyond the realm of same-sex bonding, Harding reveals, affecting the boys’ experiences in school and with the opposite sex. A unique glimpse into the world of urban adolescent boys, Living the Drama paints a detailed, insightful portrait of life in the inner city.
Urban theorists have tried for decades to define exactly what a neighborhood is. But behind that daunting existential question lies a much murkier problem: never mind how you define them—how do you make neighborhoods productive and fair for their residents? In Making Our Neighborhoods, Making Our Selves, George Galster delves deep into the question of whether American neighborhoods are as efficient and equitable as they could be—socially, financially, and emotionally—and, if not, what we can do to change that. Galster aims to redefine the relationship between places and people, promoting specific policies that reduce inequalities in housing markets and beyond. Drawing on economics, sociology, geography, and psychology, Making Our Neighborhoods, Making Our Selves delivers a clear-sighted explanation of what neighborhoods are, how they come to be—and what they should be.
In 2005 Waverly Duck was called to a town he calls Bristol Hill to serve as an expert witness in the sentencing of drug dealer Jonathan Wilson. Convicted as an accessory to the murder of a federal witness and that of a fellow drug dealer, Jonathan faced the death penalty, and Duck was there to provide evidence that the environment in which Jonathan had grown up mitigated the seriousness of his alleged crimes. Duck’s exploration led him to Jonathan’s church, his elementary, middle, and high schools, the juvenile facility where he had previously been incarcerated, his family and friends, other drug dealers, and residents who knew him or knew of him. After extensive ethnographic observations, Duck found himself seriously troubled and uncertain: Are Jonathan and others like him a danger to society? Or is it the converse—is society a danger to them?
Duck’s short stay in Bristol Hill quickly transformed into a long-term study—one that forms the core of No Way Out. This landmark book challenges the common misconception of urban ghettoes as chaotic places where drug dealing, street crime, and random violence make daily life dangerous for their residents. Through close observations of daily life in these neighborhoods, Duck shows how the prevailing social order ensures that residents can go about their lives in relative safety, despite the risks that are embedded in living amid the drug trade. In a neighborhood plagued by failing schools, chronic unemployment, punitive law enforcement, and high rates of incarceration, residents are knit together by long-term ties of kinship and friendship, and they base their actions on a profound sense of community fairness and accountability. Duck presents powerful case studies of individuals whose difficulties flow not from their values, or a lack thereof, but rather from the multiple obstacles they encounter on a daily basis.
No Way Out explores how ordinary people make sense of their lives within severe constraints and how they choose among unrewarding prospects, rather than freely acting upon their own values. What emerges is an important and revelatory new perspective on the culture of the urban poor.
The Northeast border region of India is a crossroads of Southeast Asia, where India meets China and the Himalayas, and home to many ethnic minorities from across the continent. The area is also the birthplace of a number of secessionist and insurgent movements and a hotbed of political fervor and violent instability. In this trailblazing new study, Duncan McDuie-Ra observes the everyday lives of the thousands of men and women who leave the region every year to work, study, and find refuge in Delhi. He examines how new migrants navigate the rampant racism, harassment, and even violence they face upon their arrival in Delhi. But McDuie-Ra does not paint them simply as victims of the city, but also as contributors to Delhi’s vibrant community and increasing cosmopolitanism. India’s embrace of globalization has created employment opportunities for Northeast migrants in many capitalistic enterprises: shopping malls, restaurants, and call centers. They have been able to create their own “map” of Delhi and their own communities within the larger and often unfriendly one of the metropolis.
Our corporeality and immersion in the material world make us inherently spatial beings, and the fact that we all share everyday experiences in the global physical environment means that community is also spatial by nature. This book explores the relationship between the seventeenth-century townspeople of Turku, Sweden, and their urban surroundings. Riitta Laitinen offers a novel account of civil and social order in this early modern town, highlighting the central importance of materiality and spatiality and breaking down the dichotomy of public versus private life that has dominated traditional studies of the time period.
In big cities, major museums and elite galleries tend to dominate our idea of the art world. But beyond the cultural core ruled by these moneyed institutions and their patrons are vibrant, local communities of artists and art lovers operating beneath the high-culture radar. Producing Local Color is a guided tour of three such alternative worlds that thrive in the Chicago neighborhoods of Bronzeville, Pilsen, and Rogers Park.
These three neighborhoods are, respectively, historically African American, predominantly Mexican American, and proudly ethnically mixed. Drawing on her ethnographic research in each place, Diane Grams presents and analyzes the different kinds of networks of interest and support that sustain the making of art outside of the limelight. And she introduces us to the various individuals—from cutting-edge artists to collectors to municipal planners—who work together to develop their communities, honor their history, and enrich the experiences of their neighbors through art. Along with its novel insights into these little examined art worlds, Producing Local Color also provides a thought-provoking account of how urban neighborhoods change and grow.
Restructuring the Philadelphia Region offers one of the most comprehensive and careful investigations written to date about metropolitan inequalities in America’s large urban regions. Moving beyond simplistic analyses of cities-versus-suburbs, the authors use a large and unique data set to discover the special patterns of opportunity in greater Philadelphia, a sprawling, complex metropolitan region consisting of more than 350 separate localities. With each community operating its own public services and competing to attract residents and businesses, the places people live offer them dramatically different opportunities.
The book vividly portrays the region’s uneven development—paying particular attention to differences in housing, employment and educational opportunities in different communities—and describes the actors who are working to promote greater regional cooperation. Surprisingly, local government officials are not prominent among those actors. Instead, a rich network of “third-sector” actors, represented by nonprofit organizations, quasi-governmental authorities and voluntary associations, is shaping a new form of regionalism.
Much of the world’s population inhabits the urban fringe, an area that is neither fully rural nor urban. Hóc Môn, a district that lies along a key transport corridor on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City, epitomizes one of those places. In Saigon’s Edge, Erik Harms explores life in Hóc Môn, putting forth a revealing perspective on how rapid urbanization impacts the people who live at the intersection of rural and urban worlds.
Unlike the idealized Vietnamese model of urban space, Hóc Môn is between worlds, neither outside nor inside but always uncomfortably both. With particular attention to everyday social realities, Harms demonstrates how living on the margin can be both alienating and empowering, as forces that exclude its denizens from power and privilege in the inner city are used to thwart the status quo on the rural edges.
More than a local case study of urban change, Harms’s work also opens a window on Vietnam’s larger turn toward market socialism and the celebration of urbanization—transformations instructively linked to trends around the globe.
Let’s set the scene: there’s a regular on his barstool, beer in hand. He’s watching a young couple execute a complicated series of moves on the dance floor, while at the table in the corner the DJ adjusts his headphones and slips a new beat into the mix. These are all experiences created by a given scene—one where we feel connected to other people, in places like a bar or a community center, a neighborhood parish or even a train station. Scenes enable experiences, but they also cultivate skills, create ambiances, and nourish communities.
In Scenescapes, Daniel Aaron Silver and Terry Nichols Clark examine the patterns and consequences of the amenities that define our streets and strips. They articulate the core dimensions of the theatricality, authenticity, and legitimacy of local scenes—cafes, churches, restaurants, parks, galleries, bowling alleys, and more. Scenescapes not only reimagines cities in cultural terms, it details how scenes shape economic development, residential patterns, and political attitudes and actions. In vivid detail and with wide-angle analyses—encompassing an analysis of 40,000 ZIP codes—Silver and Clark give readers tools for thinking about place; tools that can teach us where to live, work, or relax, and how to organize our communities.
Unprecedented crime rates have made Guatemala City one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Following a peace process that ended Central America’s longest and bloodiest civil war and impelled the transition from a state-centric economy to the global free market, Guatemala’s neoliberal moment is now strikingly evident in the practices and politics of security. Postwar violence has not prompted public debates about the conditions that permit transnational gangs, drug cartels, and organized crime to thrive. Instead, the dominant reaction to crime has been the cultural promulgation of fear and the privatization of what would otherwise be the state’s responsibility to secure the city. This collection of essays, the first comparative study of urban Guatemala, explores these neoliberal efforts at security. Contributing to the anthropology of space and urban studies, this book brings together anthropologists and historians to examine how postwar violence and responses to it are reconfiguring urban space, transforming the relationship between city and country, and exacerbating deeply rooted structures of inequality and ethnic discrimination.
Contributors. Peter Benson, Manuela Camus, Avery Dickins de Girón, Edward F. Fischer, Deborah Levenson, Thomas Offit, Kevin Lewis O’Neill, Kedron Thomas, Rodrigo José Véliz
American suburbs have been seen as both exclusive idylls for elites as well as crucibles for new ideologies of gender, class, race, and property. But few have considered what the growing diversity of suburban America has meant for progressive social, economic, and political justice movements. Social Justice in Diverse Suburbs is a pioneering and multidisciplinary volume that reassesses commonplace understandings of suburban activism.
Editor Christopher Niedt and his contributors shed light on organizing and conflict in the suburbs with historical and contemporary case studies. Chapters address topical issues ranging from how suburbanites actively fought school segregation to industrial pollution and displacement along the suburban-rural fringe. Social Justice in Diverse Suburbs also considers struggles for integration and environmental justice as well as efforts to preserve suburban history and organize immigrant communities.
Contributors include: Douglas R. Appler, Aaron Cavin, Nancy A. Denton, Lisa Feldstein, Casey Gallagher, Anne Galletta, Joseph Gibbons, Robert Gioielli, Lucas Owen Kirkpatrick, JoAnna Mitchell-Brown, Manuel Pastor, john a. powell, Jason Reece, Alex Schafran, June Williamson, and the editor.
The street riots that swept through France in the fall of 2005 focused worldwide attention on the plight of the country’s immigrants and their living conditions in the suburbs many of them call home. These high-density neighborhoods were constructed according to the principles of functionalist urbanism that were ascendant in the 1960s. Then, as now, the disparities between the planners’ utopian visions and the experiences of the inhabitants raised concerns, generating a number of sociological studies of the “new towns.” One of the most sophisticated and significant of these critiques is Jean-François Augoyard’s Step by Step, which was originally published in France in 1979 and famously influenced Michel de Certeau’s analysis of everyday life. Its examination of social life in the rationally planned suburb remains as cogent and timely as ever.
Step by Step is based on in-depth interviews Augoyard conducted with the inhabitants of l’Arlequin, a new town on the outskirts of Grenoble. A resident of l’Arlequin himself, Augoyard sought to understand how his neighbors used its passages, streets, and parks. He begins with a detailed investigation of the inhabitants’ daily walks before going on to consider how the built environment is personalized through place-names and shared memories, the ways in which sensory impressions define the atmosphere of a place and how, through individual and collective imagination, residents transformed l’Arlequin from a concept into a lived space.
In closely scrutinizing everyday life in l’Arlequin, Step by Step draws a fascinating portrait of the richness of social life in the new towns and sheds light on the current living conditions of France’s immigrants.
Jean-François Augoyard is professor of philosophy and musicology and doctor of urban studies at the Center for Research on Sonorous Space and the Urban Environment at the School of Architecture of Grenoble.
David Ames Curtis is a translator, editor, writer, and citizen activist.
Françoise Choay is professor emeritus in the history and theory of architecture at the University of Paris VIII and Cornell University and the author of numerous books and essays.
Merchants’ shouts, jostling strangers, aromas of fresh fish and flowers, plodding horses, and friendly chatter long filled the narrow, crowded streets of the European city. As they developed over many centuries, these spaces of commerce, communion, and commuting framed daily life. At its heyday in the 1800s, the European street was the place where social worlds connected and collided.
Brian Ladd recounts a rich social and cultural history of the European city street, tracing its transformation from a lively scene of trade and crowds into a thoroughfare for high-speed transportation. Looking closely at four major cities—London, Paris, Berlin, and Vienna—Ladd uncovers both the joys and the struggles of a past world. The story takes us up to the twentieth century, when the life of the street was transformed as wealthier citizens withdrew from the crowds to seek refuge in suburbs and automobiles. As demographics and technologies changed, so did the structure of cities and the design of streets, significantly shifting our relationships to them. In today’s world of high-speed transportation and impersonal marketplaces, Ladd leads us to consider how we might draw on our history to once again build streets that encourage us to linger.
By unearthing the vivid descriptions recorded by amused and outraged contemporaries, Ladd reveals the changing nature of city life, showing why streets matter and how they can contribute to public life.
What has happened to cities after the global economic recession? Sustaining Cities answers this question by explaining how failed governmental policies contributed to urban problems and offering best practices for solving them.
From social scientists and urban planners to architects and literary and film critics, the authors of this unique collection suggest real responses to this crisis. Could the drastic declines in housing markets have been avoided? Yes, if we reframe our housing values. Do you want to attract corporate investment to your town? You might want to think twice about doing so. The extinction of the “Celtic Tiger” may be charted in statistics, but the response in popular Irish mystery novels is much more compelling. China, while not immune to market vicissitudes, still booms, but at a considerable cost to its urban identities.
Whether constructing a sustainable social framework for Mexican mega-cities or a neighborhood in London, these nine essays consider some strikingly similar strategies. And perhaps, as the contributors suggest, it’s time to look beyond the usual boundaries of urban, suburban, and exurban to forge new links among these communities that will benefit all citizens. Accessible to anyone with an interest in how cities cope today, Sustaining Cities presents a cautionary tale with a hopeful ending.
Anthropological perspectives are not often represented in urban studies, even though many anthropologists have been contributing actively to theory and research on urban poverty, racism, globalization, and architecture. The New Urban Anthropology Reader corrects this omission by presenting 12 cross-cultural case studies focusing on the analysis of space and place.
Five images of the city—the divided city, the contested city, the global city, the modernist city, and the postmodern city—serve as the framework for the selected essays. These images highlight current research trends in urban anthropology, such as poststructural studies of race, class, and gender in the urban context; political economic studies of transnational culture; and
studies of the symbolic and social production of urban space and planning.
Theorizing the City: An Introduction by Setha M. Low
Part I. The Divided City
The Changing Significance of Race and Class in an African American Community, Steven Gregory
Fortified Enclaves: The New Urban Segregation by Teresa P. R. Caldeira
Part II. The Contested City
Spatializing Culture: The Social Production and Social Construction of Public Space in Costa Rica, Setha M. Low
Part III. The Global City
Wholesale Sushi: Culture and Commodity in Tokyo’s Tsukiki Market, Ted Bestor
Part IV. The Modernist City
The Modernist City and the Death of the Street by James Holston
Part V. The Postmodern City
Spatial Discourse and Social Boundaries: Re-imagining the Toronto Waterfront by Matthew Cooper
Our traditional image of Chicago—as a gritty metropolis carved into ethnically defined enclaves where the game of machine politics overshadows its ends—is such a powerful shaper of the city’s identity that many of its closest observers fail to notice that a new Chicago has emerged over the past two decades. Larry Bennett here tackles some of our more commonly held ideas about the Windy City—inherited from such icons as Theodore Dreiser, Carl Sandburg, Daniel Burnham, Robert Park, Sara Paretsky, and Mike Royko—with the goal of better understanding Chicago as it is now: the third city.
Bennett calls contemporary Chicago the third city to distinguish it from its two predecessors: the first city, a sprawling industrial center whose historical arc ran from the Civil War to the Great Depression; and the second city, the Rustbelt exemplar of the period from around 1950 to 1990. The third city features a dramatically revitalized urban core, a shifting population mix that includes new immigrant streams, and a growing number of middle-class professionals working in new economy sectors. It is also a city utterly transformed by the top-to-bottom reconstruction of public housing developments and the ambitious provision of public works like Millennium Park. It is, according to Bennett, a work in progress spearheaded by Richard M. Daley, a self-consciously innovative mayor whose strategy of neighborhood revitalization and urban renewal is a prototype of city governance for the twenty-first century. The Third City ultimately contends that to understand Chicago under Daley’s charge is to understand what metropolitan life across North America may well look like in the coming decades.
For millennia, the city stood out against the landscape, walled and compact. This concept of the city was long accepted as adequate for characterizing the urban experience. However, the nature of the city, both real and imagined, has always been more permeable than this model reveals.
The essays in Urban Imaginaries respond to this condition by focusing on how social and physical space is conceived as both indefinite and singular. They emphasize the ways this space is shared and thus made into urban culture. Urban Imaginaries offers case studies on cities in Brazil, Israel, Turkey, Lebanon, and India, as well as in the United States and France, and in doing so blends social, cultural, and political approaches to better understand the contemporary urban experience.
Contributors: Margaret Cohen, Stanford U; Camilla Fojas, De Paul U; Beatriz Jaguaribe, Federal U of Rio de Janeiro; Anthony D. King, SUNY Binghamton; Mark LeVine, U of California, Irvine; Srirupa Roy, U of Massachusetts, Amherst; Seteney Shami, Social Science Research Council; AbdouMaliq Simone, New School U; Maha Yahya; Deniz Yükseker, Koç U, Istanbul.
Alev Çinar is associate professor of political science and public administration at Bilkent University, Turkey. Thomas Bender is university professor of the humanities and history at New York University.
Despite today's booming economy, secure work and upward mobility remain out of reach for many central-city residents. Urban Inequality presents an authoritative new look at the racial and economic divisions that continue to beset our nation's cities. Drawing upon a landmark survey of employers and households in four U.S. metropolises, Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, and Los Angeles, the study links both sides of the labor market, inquiring into the job requirements and hiring procedures of employers, as well as the skills, housing situation, and job search strategies of workers. Using this wealth of evidence, the authors discuss the merits of rival explanations of urban inequality. Do racial minorities lack the skills and education demanded by employers in today's global economy? Have the jobs best matched to the skills of inner-city workers moved to outlying suburbs? Or is inequality the result of racial discrimination in hiring, pay, and housing? Each of these explanations may provide part of the story, and the authors shed new light on the links between labor market disadvantage, residential segregation, and exclusionary racial attitudes. In each of the four cities, old industries have declined and new commercial centers have sprung up outside the traditional city limits, while new immigrant groups have entered all levels of the labor market. Despite these transformations, longstanding hostilities and lines of segregation between racial and ethnic communities are still apparent in each city. This book reveals how the disadvantaged position of many minority workers is compounded by racial antipathies and stereotypes that count against them in their search for housing and jobs. Until now, there has been little agreement on the sources of urban disadvantage and no convincing way of adjudicating between rival theories. Urban Inequality aims to advance our understanding of the causes of urban inequality as a first step toward ensuring that the nation's cities can prosper in the future without leaving their minority residents further behind. A Volume in the Multi-City Study of Urban Inequality
How do cities transform over time? And why do some cities change for the better while others deteriorate? In articulating new ways of viewing urban areas and how they develop over time, Peter Bosselmann offers a stimulating guidebook for students and professionals engaged in urban design, planning, and architecture. By looking through Bosselmann’s eyes (aided by his analysis of numerous color photos and illustrations) readers will learn to “see” cities anew.
Bosselmann organizes the book around seven “activities”: comparing, observing, transforming, measuring, defining, modeling, and interpreting. He introduces readers to his way of seeing by comparing satellite-produced “maps” of the world’s twenty largest cities. With Bosselmann’s guidance, we begin to understand the key elements of urban design. Using Copenhagen, Denmark, as an example, he teaches us to observe without prejudice or bias.
He demonstrates how cities transform by introducing the idea of “urban morphology” through an examination of more than a century of transformations in downtown Oakland, California. We learn how to measure quality-of-life parameters that are often considered immeasurable, including “vitality,” “livability,” and “belonging.” Utilizing the street grids of San Francisco as examples, Bosselmann explains how to define urban spaces. Modeling, he reveals, is not so much about creating models as it is about bringing others into public, democratic discussions. Finally, we find out how to interpret essential aspects of “life and place” by evaluating aerial images of the San Francisco Bay Area taken in 1962 and those taken forty-three years later.
Bosselmann has a unique understanding of cities and how they “work.” His hope is that, with the fresh vision he offers, readers will be empowered to offer inventive new solutions to familiar urban problems.
For many whites, desegregation initially felt like an attack on their community. But how has the process of racial change affected whites’ understanding of community and race? In Vanishing Eden, Michael Maly and Heather Dalmage provide an intriguing analysis of the experiences and memories of whites who lived in Chicago neighborhoods experiencing racial change during the 1950s through the 1980s. They pay particular attention to examining how young people made sense of what was occurring, and how this experience impacted their lives.
Using a blend of urban studies and whiteness studies, the authors examine how racial solidarity and whiteness were created and maintained—often in subtle and unreflective ways. Vanishing Eden also considers how race is central to the ways social institutions such as housing, education, and employment function. Surveying the shifting social, economic, and racial contexts, the authors explore how race and class at local and national levels shaped the organizing strategies of those whites who chose to stay as racial borders began to change.
Walking connects the rhythms of urban life to the configuration of urban spaces. As the contributors and editors show in Walking in Cities, walking also reflects the systematic inequalities that order contemporary urban life. Walking has different meanings because it can be a way of temporarily “taking possession” of urban space, or it can make the relatively powerless more vulnerable to crime. The essays in Walking in Cities explore how walking intersects with sociological dimensions such as gender, race and ethnicity, social class, and power.
Various chapters explorethe flâneuse, or female urban drifter, in Tehran’s shopping malls; Hispanic neighborhoods in New York, San Diego, and El Paso; and the intra-neighborhood and inter-class dynamics of gentrification in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.The essays in Walking in Cities provide important lessons about urban life.
In this vivid ethnography of social movements in the barrios, or poor shantytowns, of Caracas, Sujatha Fernandes reveals a significant dimension of political life in Venezuela since President Hugo Chávez was elected. Fernandes traces the histories of the barrios, from the guerrilla insurgency, movements against displacement, and cultural resistance of the 1960s and 1970s, through the debt crisis of the early 1980s and the neoliberal reforms that followed, to the Chávez period. She weaves barrio residents’ life stories into her account of movements for social and economic justice. Who Can Stop the Drums? demonstrates that the transformations under way in Venezuela are shaped by negotiations between the Chávez government and social movements with their own forms of historical memory, local organization, and consciousness.
Fernandes portrays everyday life and politics in the shantytowns of Caracas through accounts of community-based radio, barrio assemblies, and popular fiestas, and the many interviews she conducted with activists and government officials. Most of the barrio activists she presents are Chávez supporters. They see the leftist president as someone who understands their precarious lives and has made important changes to the state system to redistribute resources. Yet they must balance receiving state resources, which are necessary to fund their community-based projects, with their desire to retain a sense of agency. Fernandes locates the struggles of the urban poor within Venezuela’s transition from neoliberalism to what she calls “post-neoliberalism.” She contends that in contemporary Venezuela we find a hybrid state; while Chávez is actively challenging neoliberalism, the state remains subject to the constraints and logics of global capital.