Violence at the Urban Margins
April 4-5. Lozano Long Institute for Latin American Studies, The University of Texas at Austin.
Program and Flyer
Participants: Nancy Scheper-Hughes; Philippe Bourgois; Matthew Desmond; Alice Goffman; Dennis Rodgers; Randol Contreras; Polly Wilding; Cecilia Bali; Donna DeCesare; Verónica Zubillaga; Kevin O’Neill; Adam Baird; Javier Auyero.
The workshop will feature the research of scholars, from sociology and anthropology, whose ethnographic work offers significant insights into the complex ways in which interpersonal violence is shaping the lives of those living at the urban margins in contemporary North, Central, and South America.
Despite resemblances in theoretical approaches, ethnographic strategies, and substantive findings, scholars working on the United States and in Central and South America rarely engage in meaningful ways with each other’s work.
Participation in this event will serve as a unique opportunity to examine the similarities and differences in the causes and experiences of interpersonal violence in inner cities and black ghettos in the United States and in favelas, villas, comunas, colonias, barriadas, or barrios in Central and South America.
In almost every single country of the Latin American sub-continent, there is a palpable contradiction between the persistent and pervasive insecurity and violence that shapes daily life and the peace and equality that, after years of dictatorship and/or civil war, defined democratic promise. This workshop will lend further ethnographic detail to a trend identified by current scholarship on Latin America: urban violence is besieging many of the new democracies in the region, affecting the most disadvantage populations in disproportionate ways.
Scholarship on violence consistently show that lack of economic opportunities coupled with geographic isolation foster environments where criminal activity and interpersonal violence become pervasive. Most Latin American governments are experiencing a “left turn” and are placing the reduction of inequality and the alleviation of poverty at the center of public discourse and policy-making. The novel progressive consensus seems to suggest that citizenship (and democracy) cannot survive without the “social inclusion” of the masses of marginalized individuals that, according to the new dominant diagnosis, were cast aside by decades of neoliberal economic policies. Addressing what both moderate and radical governments in the sub-continent call the “drama of social exclusion” mandates the confrontation of the daily violence that has become a defining feature of the texture of hardship among the urban poor. Without the pacification of everyday life in marginalized communities, “social inclusion” is at risk of becoming an empty panacea. The workshop will bring together sociologists and anthropologists who will put the ethnographic microscope at work to explore the connections between inequality, violence, and democracy.
The Ethnography Brown Bag series features graduate students’ work in progress. Each paper will be posted on this website at least one week prior to the scheduled presentation. At each session, one graduate student will act as discussant, providing a brief summary of the paper’s main arguments and offering constructive criticism for the author (5-7 minutes). The floor will then be open to comments and questions from those in attendance. In order to make the most of the time allotted, please plan to read papers ahead of time if you wish to participate in the discussion.
Spring 2013 Schedule - The following brown bags will be held from 1:15-2:15 pm in CLA 1.302D
Presenter: Pamela Neumann
"The Gendered Burden of Development in Nicaragua"
Discussant: Caity Collins
Presenter: Jacinto Cuvi
"Politics, Violence, and the Organization of Street Markets in São Paulo and Buenos Aires"
Discussant: Jorge Derpic
Presenter: Katie Sobering
Title TBD. Topic: "Worker Recovered Businesses in Argentina"
Discussant: Katie Jensen
Presenter: Emily Spangenberg
"Inequality, Indigenous Identity, and the (Mis)recognition of Lead Poisoning in Abra Pampa, Argentina"
Discussant: Katie Sobering
Presenter: Marcos Perez
"Iron Fellows: Commitment and Disengagement in a Poor People's Movement"
Discussant: Pamela Neumann
Presenter: Esther Sullivan
"Half-way Homeowners: Eviction and Forced Relocation among Homeowners in Manufactured Home Parks in Florida"
Discussant: Maggie Tate