Dr Sandra Carolina Pulido Chaparro

Emerging middle class informal self-built neighbourhoods

Funding period: 20 October 2021 – 20 July 2022
Type of funding: International Fellowship

Dr Sandra Carolina Pulido Chaparro is a Fellow Researcher in the Urban Anthropology group of the Department of Anthropology at the Universidad de los Andes, Colombia. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, an MA and a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Andes. Her doctoral dissertation (2019) draws on subjective class positioning of being “non-poor” or “middle class” among inhabitants’ informal self-built neighbourhoods in Bogotá (Colombia).

She has worked as a professor in Social Psychology and Research Methods, and she has done collaborative work with urban communities for the inclusion and appropriation of the city. Her research interests focus on social class, emerging middle class, self-built neighbourhoods, citizenship, gender, urban inequality, neighbourhoods change, place making, and mixed neighbourhoods. She is also interested in making research accessible to the public and specifically to communities through the elaboration of different diffusion materials and digital artefacts.

As a USF international fellow, Dr Pulido will spend nine months working at the Georg-Simmer Centre for Metropolitan Studies at the Humboldt-University Berlin, under the mentorship of Professor Talja Blokland.

Profile | sc.pulido10@uniandes.edu.co

As part of her USF Fellowship, Dr Pulido also received a USF Knowledge Mobilisation Award in November 2021 (see below).

USF Knowledge Mobilisation Award: LaCasa. Aspirational cartographies

The present project “LaCasa. Aspirational cartographies” aims to disseminate the results of my doctoral research “Before we were nothing, now we are not everything we want to be. Class positionings in self-built neighborhoods of illegal origin “the result of five years of field work in five neighborhoods of non-legal origin in Bogotá. This research, entitled ‘Emerging middle class in informal self-built neighborhoods’, was one of the winning projects of the USF International Fellowship and seeks to show the different nuances of the emerging middle class. It invites us to overcome the controversy of the “formal, orderly, planned city” vs. “informal, disorderly, chaotic city”, and thus, as he points out Ananya Roy (2005), achieve a greater recognition of the complexity and paradoxical nature of urban life.

During the research, the house became one of the main axes of the “middle class” positioning, it was a tool for social advancement and the right to the city of its owners. Even the material modifications of the house represented changes of status on the social scale, as well as a project of differentiation. The material house became the metaphor of an intermediate, multiple, open, unfinished, diverse social position …, which contradicts the flat associations of specific social identities.

Based on this metaphor of the house, the project will create a digital environment LaCasa, LaCasaLaboratorio and a traveling exhibition. The LaCasa digital environment is a transmedia space, in constant transformation, committed to other ways of looking, listening and making present the different ways of inhabiting the house (s) in the city and of positioning oneself in the social world. Therefore, this digital environment will host visual, audio, photographic, narrative formats, etc., and will design different cartographies of the spaces of the house, which will be connected through hyperlinks and hypertexts with other areas of the house such as: the repository house, the house that talks, the material house, the house seen, the affective house and the house in the city, among others.

Likewise, the project will seek to give prominence to the neighborhood communities, starting with the construction of the LaCasalaboratorio space, which will feed the different rooms of LaCasa. Experimentation and creation workshops (cartographies, photographs and / or videos and illustrations, photographs) will be held to reflect on the house, the neighborhoods (past, present, and future) and their social positions. These activities and experiences, visual and oral narratives will be elaborated by the neighbors, and will make the community a co-author and co-creator of LaCasa’s content.

Finally, there will be a traveling exhibition designed from digital devices taken from LaCasa and LaCasaLaboratorio. The exhibition will be co-curated and co-designed with the community, using audiovisual strategies from both Houses. This process will generate greater access and appropriation of knowledge by the communities that are part of the research and will reach people who are not familiar with digital media, such as the elderly.