São Paulo's Peripheries: Transformations in Modes of Collective Life

Sao Paolo periphery
Teresa Caldeira
Professor
City and Regional Planning

Paulo’s peripheries were once exclusively the spaces where the poor working classes inhabited their autoconstructed houses and organized themselves into insurgent social movements. In the last two decades, these spaces have changed considerably. The mode of collective life that was based on autoconstruction, industrialism, migration, the dignity of labor, a certain hierarchy of gender roles, and the articulation of urban social movements is being profoundly challenged by new modes of consumption in what are now much improved and heterogeneous urban spaces. This consumption is aligned with new kinds of cultural production, protest, and circulation from the peripheries to the rest of the city. This project analyzes the emerging collective life and its consumption-fueled everyday dynamics, in which new arrangements of domestic life and gender roles are at the core of mutations. It also suggests that these peripheral transformations happen not only in São Paulo, but also in many other autconstructed metropolises across the global south.