Accepted paper:

The square of multiple landscapes: sex, drugs, food and collaborative politics


Cristiana Bastos (Universidade de Lisboa)

Paper short abstract:

Lisbon neighborhoods traditionally associated to low-end commercial sex are now sites for urban renewal with multi-partner collaborations. I will bring ethnographic data on the different actors’ perspectives about interventions (food, comm. sex, drugs, housing) to discuss the scope of collaboration

Paper long abstract:

A recent wave of urban intervention in some of the most rundown neighbourhoods in Lisbon's inner city included the moving of the Mayor's office into the square of Intendente -- a hub of street hustling, hostals-cum-brothels, low-end bars and assorted informal businesses through the 20th century - plus coordinated actions both there and in the adjacent Mouraria, a medieval neighbourhood that fed the imagination of many Lisbonners as the repository of vice and low life, and also as the birth place of Fado. At the turn of the 21st century, the area was also one of the most ethnically diverse square miles of Lisbon and a vibrant center of commerce, with a strong presence of Asian-run business (mostly from China and Bangla Desh), a mosque, halal markets, and some African gathering points and stores. Claiming to have learned from previous processes of urban renewal in other European historical neighborhoods, the city intervention in Intendente/Mouraria presents itself as a highly collaborative project; from the beginning, it promoted a number of actions involving the residents, bar owners and other business holders, prostitutes, street inhabitants, and other frequenters of the area. In this paper I will bring perspectives of different actors involved in, and affected by, the interventions (participated photo exhibits, street music festivals, community kitchens, support for local businesses, debates around prostitution and drug use, housing policies) in order to contribute to the wider discussion about the effects, shapes and modes of collaborative projects.

panel G15
Re-thinking collaboration: between research and socio-political interventions