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Contested urban territories: Ethnographic concept building for a more global urban theory


Indigenous movements in Latin America exemplify alternatives ways of relating to urban nature. These different practices and ecological imaginaries at play in urban contexts could signal different routes for a more sustainable development. Yet, they remain under-investigated, this proposal argues, due to a lack of an adequate conceptual repertoire and methodological tools to analyse these practices. This is despite new starting points for a more global urban theory: while post- and decolonial scholars have argued to further diversify socio-spatial theory, scholars engaging with an ontological turn are rethinking dualisms separating nature and culture or urban and rural to open up new grounds to study urban political ecology.
This project addresses this gap by building on Latin America-based scholarship to reframe these types of socio-environmental struggles as urban contestations, emphasising intersectional dimension of indigeneity, race and gender, to understand these multiply scaled processes. The main questions are: What practices do indigenous urban movements mobilize to defend their right to territory? How do the urban worlds enacted through these practices challenge and inform concepts and methods in urban studies more widely? Empirically, the research builds on a systematic comparative study of Mexico City (Mexico) and La Paz-El Alto (Bolivia) – cities marked with indigenous urban movements and rapid urbanization.
This research will demonstrate novel strategies to compare different ecological and urban understandings. By advancing an interdisciplinary approach to analyse environmental conflicts in cities, the project will contribute to knowledge on urban development and provide a sound base to put forward suitable policy instruments to work towards sustainable cities and communities.

Call for proposal

See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

MSCA-IF-EF-ST - Standard EF


Houghton Street 1
WC2A 2AE London
United Kingdom
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 224 933,76