Every semester SURCLA presents regular seminars on topics of interest to students of Spanish and Latin American Studies, as well as a series of documentary screenings. See "Latest Events" for upcoming talks and screenings.
SURCLA Presents | Neoliberalism, Violence and Urban governance in Latin American Cities
3 September, 2013
5.30 - 7.00pm
Professor Michael Humphrey
Department of Sociology and Social Policy, the University of Sydney
NB this talk was previously scheduled for 27 August.
After the democratic transitions from state repression under authoritarian and military regimes in the 1980s and 1990s Latin American societies unexpectedly experienced a surge in criminal violence in the 2000s. The region now has the highest homicide rates in the world with an average 25.6 per 100,000 population.How to respond to this violence has become a pressing political and policy concern of governments throughout the region. This paper examines urban security responses to manage urban violence in three big cities in Latin America - México City, Bogotá and Caracas. It argues that an ‘urban security model’ has emerged based on three components - urban renewal, securitisation and citizen security – to make cities safe and attract investment. The market and security logics have converged as part of the state’s response to neoliberal urbanisation in which development has been decentralised focused on ‘competitive cities’. The paper argues that the convergence of urban development and security reveals the multi-scalar articulation of markets and violence in the city. Urban governance becomes an exercise in managing urban fragmentation characterised by spatially differentiated citizenship, protection, and quality of life in Latin American cities.