Adverse Dispossession: claiming a place in the city through embodied histories of displacement

Authors: Erin Collins*, American University
Topics: Urban Geography, Gender
Keywords: global urban studies, Phnom Penh, transnational feminism
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 4:00 PM / 5:40 PM
Room: Studio 9, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper considers modes of social reproduction integral to claims to urban space in Phnom Penh, Cambodia following the reanimation of the capital city after 1979. Drawing on oral histories, archival and ethnographic sources, the paper foregrounds caring for, building from, planting on, and storytelling of, as embodied claims to urban space. The paper documents the enduring importance of these embodied claims in the struggles of the urban poor to remain in place in the face of current, elite-centered urban planning agenda and capital-intensive development in the city. Where adverse possession is the occupation of land to which another person has the title with the intention of possessing it as one's own, adverse dispossession is the occupation of land with the intention of living on it based on an embodied history of displacement and loss. The paper concludes by arguing that adverse dispossession offers one means of pushing past narrow, liberal conditions of intelligibility to forge a feminist right to the city.

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