Intersections in Subaltern Urbanism: The narratives of women in urban occupations in Brazil

Authors: Mariana Cruz*, Universidade Federal De Minas Gerais, Natália Alves da Silva, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
Topics: Third World, Urban and Regional Planning, Women
Keywords: Urban Occupations, Southern Theory, Feminism
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Evergreen, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In the past decade in Brazil, we have witnessed the rise of a new subaltern space, which has prompted a new theoretical category, incorporated in the contemporary epistemologies of Subaltern Urbanism: Urban Occupations. These new terrains of livelihood and self-organisation have prompted a series of new resistance strategies, everyday practices and narratives that must be understood and decodified. The Metropolitan Region of Belo Horizonte - third largest in the country - accounts for over 25 housing occupations in its territory, more than half of which settled in the last 5 years. Occupation Rosa Leão, established in 2013, is one of them. As it happens in many other occupations, most of its dwellers are black women. They constitute majority in the coordination groups and are often more closely involved in the collective necessities of the community. The present article draws upon the experiences of these women as subjects of their own history to showcase urban occupation as a powerful place for understanding and dismantling the always existing but often overlooked intersection between coloniality and gender. It relies on the activist and academic engagement of both authors in these territories, and specifically in the experience with a women-only self-construction workshop organised in October 2017. Through this workshop, we sought to understand how “usually male" construction knowledge was employed (or not) by women, how it could be used as a tool for domination/emancipation and how gender relations intertwined with racial issues in the process.

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