Accepted Paper:

Addressing urban marginality and crafting cosmopolitan cities: a view from South Africa and Chile  

Authors:

Megan Sheehan (College of St BenedictSt John's University)
Angela Storey (University of Louisville)

Paper short abstract:

This paper addresses the production of social and spatial marginality in cosmopolitan cities of the global south. Through ethnographic examples from Cape Town, South Africa and Santiago, Chile, we explore tensions between aspirations for global recognition and visibility of peripheral communities.

Paper long abstract:

This paper draws on ethnographic research conducted in Cape Town, South Africa and Santiago, Chile, to explore how processes of social and spatial marginalization overlap and juxtapose. By examining marginal communities located in urban centers and peripheries, we explore how processes of city-making prompt strategic engagements to position marginality within modern, cosmopolitan discourses.

Situated on the periphery of Cape Town, informal settlements in Khayelitsha face a range of infrastructural challenges, largely lacking sewage, water, and electricity. In the historic and geographic center of Santiago, an emerging Peruvian enclave has developed over the last twenty years. Migrants are often excluded from formal rental markets, and migrant use of public space is contested by Chileans.

This paper explores the implications of urban marginality on cities' international presence. Cape Town and Santiago both aspire to global economic, social, and cultural connections. For cities of the global south, however, persistent urban marginality and inequality challenge a city's self-presentation. This paper explores strategies through cities craft an international presence, suggesting that urban marginality remains a contested terrain. Chile positions migrants and the migrant enclave as part of regenerative multicultural resurgence in the center of the city, which Cape Town engages citizens around politicized rhetorics of individual responsibility in order to submerge political struggles for resource redistribution.

Panel P090
Urban margins: new perspectives on the city