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The plebeian metropolis : a residual sociology of popular autonomies in Lagos and Mexico City

Abstract : Mexico City and Lagos both gained significant autonomy from their respective states by the late 1990s. Rather than being driven “from above”, by their economic elites in articulating themselves to the new wave of globalization, the autonomization of the two metropolises’ was driven “from below”, through the disjuncture of their pauperized popular sectors from state institutions. In each city, from the early 1980s, popular politics and socioeconomic regulation experienced a process of reterritorialization in neighborhoods as a result of rapid informalization and the densification of localized regulative issues. New or expanding popular mechanisms of self-regulation developed that could not be fully accommodated by states yet proved central to the opening of processes of urban institutionalization in each case. In the present, we borrow heuristic tools from studies of clientelism and field theory to look ethnographically at various territorial or sectoral mechanisms of popular self-regulation, as they relate to the economies of urban mining that expanded in popular quarters from the 1980s. Whether or not they are directly integrated to the political parties that developed under renewed urban political elites, these forms of popular regulation are to be understood at a meso level rather than as fragments of informality, predation, corruption, clientelism or violence. Through various modalities, they reproduce relatively autonomous orders of regulation whose political integration plays a central role in feeding and constraining the formation of institutions of urban government, inviting a reconsideration of Max Weber’s ideal-type of the “plebeian city”.
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Submitted on : Thursday, June 16, 2022 - 4:13:10 PM
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Côme Salvaire. The plebeian metropolis : a residual sociology of popular autonomies in Lagos and Mexico City. Political science. Institut d'études politiques de Paris - Sciences Po, 2021. English. ⟨NNT : 2021IEPP0048⟩. ⟨tel-03697286⟩



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