How about taking a tour around Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Delhi and Mumbai, India, and Lagos, Nigeria? How about going back to the 1930s and dreaming of 2030? And what about decolonizing our scientific production? This is an invitation to get to know a personal history of Adunni, a young woman who lived in Lagos between the 1930s and 1960s and, at the same time, the poetry of young contemporary Brazilian women. In this intersection of times and spaces, let´s reflect on the processes of transition to adulthood, considering structural conditions such as the role of the State, gender inequality, and elitism. The contents of these poems written by young people who live in the urban peripheries of the metropolitan region of Belo Horizonte are linked to the experiences of limited citizenship, the restricted political voice, and the unacceptable living conditions experienced by low-income families in Delhi and Mumbai. The gentrification processes and the difficulties imposed on most people in the access to housing in the global South affect both these low-income families in India and the middle class in Belo Horizonte. And so, let’s think together about the role of urban policies and the State in the right to the city, in the production of formal and informal, legal and illegal urban space.

Presenters: Dr Tunde Decker, Dr Rachel Almeida, Dr Smytta Yadav, and Prof Luciana Andrade.

The presentations will allow time for a panel discussion at the end, chaired by Prof Jeroen Klink (USF Trustee).

Date: Wednesday, May 18th 2022
Time: 16:00 (UTC-3 / Brasília Time)
Format: online, organised and hosted by Dr Rachel Almeida and the Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais.

Vamos passear por Belo Horizonte, no Brasil, por Delhi e Mumbai, na Índia, por Lagos na Nigéria? Vamos voltar aos anos 1930 e imaginar 2030? Vamos descolonizar nossa produção científica? Este é um convite para conhecermos a história de vida de Adunni, uma jovem mulher que viveu em Lagos entre as décadas de 1930 e 1960 e, ao mesmo tempo, as poesias de jovens mulheres brasileiras contemporâneas. Nesse entrecruzar de tempos e espaços, refletirmos sobre os processos transição para a vida adulta, considerando as condições estruturais como o papel do Estado, desigualdade de gênero e elitismo. Os conteúdos dessas poesias produzidas por jovens que moram nas periferias urbanas da região metropolitana de Belo Horizonte se interligam às experiências de cidadania limitada, à voz política restrita e às condições de vida inaceitáveis vivenciadas por famílias de baixa renda em Delhi e Mumbai. Os processos de gentrificação e as dificuldade imposta a uma maioria para o acesso à habitação no sul global atingem tanto essas famílias de baixa renda na Índia, quanto as de classe média em Belo Horizonte. E assim vamos juntos pensar no papel das políticas urbanas e do Estado no direito à cidade, na produção do espaço urbano formal e informal, legal e ilegal.


Girl at the margin: a phenomenological account of Adunni’s teenage and early adult years in Lagos: 1930-1960

Dr Tunde Decker (Osun State University, Nigeria)

This paper tells one of the many stories that remain largely untold despite the vast literature on colonial Lagos history. Although the social history of Lagos has witnessed increasing interest from historians and scholars from other disciplines and have been told in relations to sex, childhood, social welfare, state, gender and elitism, much of wholesome personal renditions of the city’s history is hidden from mainstream narratives. This article accounts for one of such personal histories, using phenomenology as a method to tell the story of Adunni, a girl whose teenage years were largely lived in the late colonial period and whose personal experiences speak to the experiences of other living (though few) individuals whose status as living archives often enrich scholarly interrogations but are regarded as sources of history rather than as history itself. This article presents Adunni as an example of that history.

Between alienation and revolution: incursions into collectives of soirees in metropolitan public spaces

Dr Rachel Almeida (Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais, Brazil)

Following the tracks of the soiree collectives in the metropolitan area of Belo Horizonte, this article aims to analyse the role of the dimension of everyday life, which according to Lefebvre means the constant movement between the tendency to repeat and the capacity for social transformation, between routine and invention. These collectives are formed by young people, most of them residents of peripheral areas who have revealed themselves to be holders of a new subjectivity capable of explaining their place in the world and justifying their existence drawing from the pride of being peripheral, which results in a new way of political action. The daily life lived, perceived, and conceived in the context of their social and symbolic place occupied by the peripheries and their social actors, individually and collectively taken, has been reframed in the face of a set of social transformations and, consequently, it produces new public spheres and new ways of expression of emancipatory struggles. The ethnography carried out seeks to apprehend the intertwining of poetry, performance, and the occupation of public space. The critique of everyday life reveals patterns of behaviour, organization strategies of groups and subgroups, networks of relationships and networks of meanings, as well as systems of material and symbolic exchanges. Indeed, such collectives are expressions of everyday resistance, manifested in poetry, in body expressions, in the way activities are organized and communicated. At the same time, in these soirees, critical and political reflections are collectively created, making the creative and liberating capacity emerge.

Gentrification and citizenship in India

Dr Smytta Yadav (University of Manchester, United Kingdom)

The proposed paper is on everyday forms of citizenship as experienced by low income households in cities of global south in India. It discusses on the different types of documentations the urban poor need to provide to show their relationship with the city. I propose to focus on two Indian cities namely- Mumbai and Delhi over a period of two years (2017-2019). These cities are identified by the Indian government to be a highly volatile housing market with a growing phenomena of slum gentrification, uneven development in urban spaces as well as a more complex land and housing tenure system (Lees., et 2015; 2016). These are demographically different cities each presenting its own unique challenges to inclusive housing. The majority of the urban poor who migrate to these cities continue to maintain links with their villages where they already have documents such as voter cards, social provision cards, job cards, birth certificates, and so on. Therefore, without giving up their relations with their village, the migrants as the new urban poor cannot acquire the full citizenship experience, meaning they have a limited citizenship experience, limited political voice to influence change at a policy level and a continue to live in unacceptable living conditions. The paper avers that very little theoretical work has been done into the notions of right and access to the city (Parnell 2012), as well as hybrid, mobile and pluralistic forms of citizenship.

Urban policies, mobility and gentrification in two neighbourhoods of Belo Horizonte

Prof Luciana Andrade (Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais, Brazil)

This article investigates the relations between urban policies, the residential mobility and the gentrification of urban space, based on research in two neighbourhoods of Belo Horizonte: Santa Tereza and Anchieta. Several types of data were used in the study, including the Origin and Destination Survey, which identifies residential mobility in neighbourhoods, the Demographic Census datasets on households and residents, and municipal data on real estate dynamics and current urban policies. Qualitative data from interviews and local observations has also been used. The results demonstrate how the processes are distinct. In Santa Tereza, the urban policies implemented as an outcome of resident mobilization have managed to stop gentrification. In Anchieta, the greater liberality of urban policies, which did not elicit any organized responses from residents, has allowed renovation in some parts of the neighbourhood, which we identified as new-build gentrification.

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