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Robert Gay | Professor Caroline Moser | Janice Perlman | Asef Bayat | Jo Beall | Mariano Aguirre | Owen Crankshaw | Susan Parnell | Kees Koonings | Dirk Kruijt


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For the first time in history, the majority of the world's population lives in cities, the result of a rapid process of urbanization that started in the second half of the twentieth century. 'Megacities' around the world are rapidly becoming the scene for deprivation, especially in the global South, and the urban excluded face the brunt of what in many cases seems like low-intensity warfare. Featuring case studies from across the globe, including Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, Megacities examines recent worldwide trends in poverty and social exclusion, urban violence and politics, and links these to the challenges faced by policy-makers and practitioners.
'Trends in the social and political landscapes of today's cities will underpin significant aspects of our global future now that the world's population is mainly urban and are therefore ever more pressing arenas for social science research. This book provides a compelling, and at times devastating, appraisal of contemporary evidence about the social, political and economic exclusion of the poor urban majority in the global south. Of particular significance is the book's focus on the ways in which violence has become an increasing element in the exclusion of the urban poor from the potential benefits of an urban existence in certain megacities. Particularly in large Latin American cities, the everyday experience of the residents in low-income settlements is so affected by violence - from drug-related gangs, from private armed militias and from deeply corrupt and inadequate police forces that it has become the worst of the many problems they face. When Janice Perlman who, in the 1970s, championed the idea that the concept of urban marginality was a myth argues that violence in Rio de Janeiro has made marginalization a reality, we should take note and listen. Megacities also provides insightful analysis of developments in our understanding of urban politics in the global south, and the various explicit and covert ways the urban poor with varying degrees of success seek to improve their livelihoods in globalizing urban centres. There are crucial questions involved such as who has a right to the city, are there separate categories of citizens and pseudo-citizens, and can cities fulfil their potential as sites where democracy might be facilitated, rather than areas where people's options are closed down by the fear and violence that deepening inequality inevitably brings?' Dr Deborah Potts, King's College London. 'This edited volume is a useful academic insertion into discussions in the development community about poverty alleviation and good governance in the so-called megacities of the Global South. A fine roster of scholars articulates the ways in which poverty is intertwined with inequality, social and political exclusion as well as crime and increasing violence in cities in Latin America, the Middle East, and Southern Africa. Their work is quite valuable for its analysis of the contradictions embedded in the ways in which a rhetorical advance of participatory, democratic governance aimed at poverty reduction runs smack into the real wall of repression, insecurity, and injustice.' Garth Myers, University of Kansas
Kees Koonings is Associate Professor of Development Studies and Latin American Studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences of Utrecht University. He has published on development issues, ethnicity, the military, democracy and violence in Latin America. He has previously co-edited Societies of Fear (1999), Political Armies (2002), Armed Actors (2004) and Fractured Cities (2007). His current research interests include the armed conflict and peace processes in Colombia, and social mobilization and citizenship in Brazil. Dirk Kruijt is Honorary Professor of Development Studies at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences of Utrecht University. He has published on social exclusion, poverty and Informalisation, military dictatorship, guerrilla movements, civil wars and ethnic conflicts, peace negotiations and post-war reconstruction. He has previously co-edited Societies of Fear (1999), Political Armies (2002), Armed Actors (2004) and Fractured Cities (2007) and published Guerrillas (2008) with Zed Books.

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Prelims i
About the editors i
Figures and tables vi
Introduction ix
1 | The rise of megacities and the urbanization of informality, exclusion and violence 8
Megacities 9
Patterns of urbanization: the forerunner case of Latin America 11
The shifting debate on poverty, inequality and social exclusion in megacities 15
The ‘grey zones’ of urban exclusion 19
Figure 1.1 Grey areas of urban exclusion and contestation 20
Figure 4.1 Map of dangerous locations\r 77
Livelihood, mobilization, violence 22
Notes 26
PART ONE: The social dynamics of exclusion and violence in megacities 27
2 | From popular movements to drug gangs to militias: an anatomy of violence in Rio de Janeiro 29
How violent? 30
Slums of hope 31
Slums of despair 32
Police violence 35
Police corruption and violence 38
Recent attempts at reform (and their violent consequences) 40
Marginality and violence 45
Notes 47
3 | Megacity’s violence and its consequences in Rio de Janeiro 52
The ‘Marvellous City’ as a violent city 52
The police: the violent face of the state in the favelas 53
Ten interacting factors of violence 55
The vicious cycle of violence and its consequences 62
Notes 67
4 | Coping with urban violence: state and community responses to crime and insecurity in Guayaquil, Ecuador 69
Background issues 70
Violence and insecurity in Indio Guayas contextualized in the broader urban environment 71
The state’s response to drugs and violence in Guayaquil 75
Increasing levels of violence and insecurity in Indio Guayas 76
Figure 4.1 Map of dangerous locations 77
Example of a violent incident in Indio Guayas and the community’s response 79
Concluding comments 80
Notes 81
5 | Middle Eastern megacities: social exclusion, popular movements and the quiet encroachment of the urban poor 82
Urban ‘activism’ in the Middle East 82
Urban mass protests 84
Trade unionism 86
Community activism 87
Islamist movements and social development 90
The politics of the NGOs 94
Quiet encroachment 97
Conclusions 100
Notes 102
PART TWO: Political and policy dimensions of urban exclusion and violence 105
6 | Urban governance and the paradox of conflict 107
The creative potential of cities 107
The ambiguity of urban governance 110
The destructive power of urban violence 115
Conclusion 118
7 | Shoot the citizen, save the customer: participatory budgeting and bare citizenship in Porto Alegre, Brazil 120
Bare citizenship as a neoliberal dystopia 120
Urban governance, citizenship and participatory budgeting 122
From the Third Wave to the Third Way: the emergence of decentralization and participatory governance in Brazil (1989–2007) 124
Table 7.1 Distribution of total available tax revenue in Brazil, after transfers 125
The battle over participatory budgeting in Porto Alegre 126
Figure 7.1 Evolution of the membership renewal rate of the Participatory Budgeting Council 136
Figure 7.2 Evolution of public participation in participatory budgeting assemblies 137
Final considerations 137
Notes 139
8 | Crisis of the state, violence in the city 141
‘Mini-Venices’ 141
Fragile states and the violent city 143
Post-9/11 and state fragility 145
Peace-building and urban violence 147
Human security: the people at the centre 147
Box 8.1 Practices of peace-building in post-conflict scenarios 148
Security and poverty 150
Notes 151
9 | Urban exclusion and the (false) assumptions of spatial policy reform in South Africa 153
The spatial impasse of the developmental state in South Africa 154
Table 9.1 Typology of settlements showing urban dominance, 2008 156
Patterns of exclusion – information to inform debates on spatial policy 161
Figure 9.1 National employment by economic sector, 1946–2006 161
Table 9.2 The changing labour force 162
Table 9.3 The growing significance of the three major city regions, 1921–2001 165
Figure 9.2 Changing proportion of primary, secondary and tertiary jobs in South Africa, 1946–2006 163
Figure 9.3 The urban population by race, 1921–2001 164
Figure 9.4 Total urban versus rural population, 1921–2001 166
Figure 9.5 Urban/rural trends in the black population, 1920–2000 167
Figure 9.6 Urban/rural trends in the African population, 1921–2001 168
Figure 9.6 Urban/rural trends in the African population, 1921–2001\r 168
Notes 169
Acknowledgements vii
About the authors viii
Conclusions: governing exclusion and violence in megacities 171
Livelihood 171
Mobilization and participation 173
Violence 174
Political and policy implications 175
Bibliography 178
Index 195