Accepted Paper:

Mobilizing urban margins and livelihoods: resituating street vending and legality in the northern Philippines  
B Lynne Milgram (OCAD University)

Paper short abstract:

Philippine urban itinerant vendors competing for business increasingly occupy marginal spaces inside Baguio City's Public Market. Vendors' new enclaves emerge as conflict zones where they renegotiate space relations of capital and unsettle categories of public space and legal/illegal practice.

Paper long abstract:

Economic liberalization in the Philippines has meant dramatic growth in urban street economies. In Baguio City, itinerant vendors competing for street locations increasingly occupy in-between spaces inside Baguio's city-owned Public Market. By capturing customers' business from market leaseholders, vendors' new economic enclaves emerge as conflict zones and frontier junctures in which they renegotiate space relations of capital. This paper argues that itinerant vendors' activism to claim access to and rights over market spaces not sanctioned for private commercial use unsettle categories of formal/informal work, public space and legal/illegal practice. Vendors pay daily rental fees to market managers to occupy their 'illegal' locations and open new socio-economic spaces within old ones by operationalizing personalized agreements with leaseholders. Vendors' advocacy thus highlights transformative political possibilities for reconceptualizing space-labour relations and legal/illegal practice, thereby enabling them to fashion new forms of cultural citizenship.

Panel W053
Shaping urban inequalities: space and power in the city