Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Production of a Privileged Space: Boundaries, Esthetics and the Legitimation of Social Differences in Medellin, Colombia
by Gutiérrez, Lina Maria Villegas, Ph.D., The New School, 2017, 292; 10621970
Abstract (Summary)

Drawing from interviews and fieldwork in Medellin (Colombia’s second largest city), this dissertation presents a qualitative analysis of the relationship between class and space. Building on the concerns of class analysis and urban sociology I examine from a spatial angle how unequal entitlement to different resources are legitimized. The ubiquitous disparities that exist in many aspects of life are visible in the polarized urban spaces. Here, I observe and interpret the reasoning behind exclusionary practices of spatial divisions.

I describe the effects of privatization as a corollary of neoliberal reforms suggesting that the changes brought about are not new forms of creating distance and asymmetries but the renovation of persistent structures. The physical location of citizens within the city according to their position within the social space has been so naturalized and almost institutionalized that emergent structures of urban design explicitly appeal to homogeneity, proximity, and distinction. Private enclaves have become the only possible way of dwelling for the middle and upper middle classes. Living in a closed enclave entails a totally privatized way of living involving private schools, private health care, and private places of entertainment. I also explore the content of symbolic boundaries that create and support spatial boundaries as well as the discourses citizens used to explain spatial and social divisions.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Sherman, Rachel, Molnar, Virag
Commitee: Aleinikoff, Alex, Heiman, Rachel, Molnar, Virag, Sherman, Rachel
School: The New School
Department: Sociology
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 79/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social research, Social structure
Keywords: Class, Distinction, Inequality, Latin american cities, Privatization, Urban polarization
Publication Number: 10621970
ISBN: 978-0-355-31567-7
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