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From Fragmentation to Conviviality: Unequal, Disputed and Shared Social Worlds in Southern Cities

Dr. Ramiro Segura (Universidad Nacional de La Plata and Universidad Nacional de San Martín, Argentina)



The public lecture reflects on southern urbanism from the historical and ethnographic approach to the city of La Plata, Argentina, created as a modern planned city at the end of the 19th century. The cities of the Global South, especially Latin American cities, have been characterized by their “excesses” (too big) and/or their “deficiencies” (too many problems) with respect to the parameters that supposedly characterize the urban experience of the Global North. In this framework, the historical and social evolution of cities such as La Plata has been interpreted as an expression of "frustrated modernity", describing a historical movement from "the ideal city" to the "broken grid". Coined by the Los Angeles School at the end of the 20th century, fragmentation is a recurrent concept/metaphor to describe the urban processes of recent decades in Latin American cities, which are characterized by the increase of social inequalities, crime and insecurity, as well as social segmentation and walls. Without ignoring these processes, I instead recover a tradition of inquiries about Latin American cities that focused on the “cultural arenas” (Morse) and “cultural borders” (Romero) as tense and productive encounters between different and unequal groups in the urban space. Drawing on their insights, I propose a conceptual move from fragmentation to conviviality. While a concept like fragmentation tends to emphasize distance, separation, and reciprocal isolation between groups and social classes, the framework of conviviality is a useful analytical tool to examine the contexts of interaction, negotiation and conflict about urban settings and the social positions and cultural identifications within them. Viewed through the lens of conviviality, Latin American cities not only appear as conflictive and negotiated spaces, but also as composed and common places shared among different and unequal actors.


Dr. Ramiro Segura is Professor at Universidad Nacional de La Plata and Universidad Nacional de San Martín, and Researcher at National Council for Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET), Argentina. He has conducted research on cultural heritage, urban insecurity, socio-spatial segregation, daily mobility, and social inequalities in the urban space. As Associated Investigator of The Maria Sibylla Merian International Centre for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences Conviviality-Inequality in Latin America (MECILA) he is interested in analyzed configurations of conviviality in Latin American cities. He has published the books Vivir afuera. Antropología de la experiencia urbana (2015) and Las ciudades y las teorías. Estudios sociales urbanos (2021). He is co-editor of the books La vida política en los barrios populares de Buenos Aires (2009), Segregación y diferencia en la ciudad (2013), Hacerse un lugar: circuitos y trayectorias juveniles en ámbitos urbanos (2015) and Experiencias metropolitanas. Clase, movilidad y modos de habitar en el sur de la Región Metropolitana de Buenos Aires (2021).


Links: https://www.conicet.gov.ar/new_scp/detalle.php?keywords=&id=40132&datos_academicos=yes (CONICET)

https://conicet.academia.edu/RamiroSegura  (Academia.edu)


22 June 2022

Seminarraum S 253
Classen-Kappelmannstr. 24
50931 Köln