KAMINKER Sergio Andres
congresos y reuniones científicas
Residential Segregation in Puerto Madryn, Chubut (1991-2010) Forms and effects of an accelerated urbanization in a mid-size city in Central Patagonia
Workshop; XIIIth International Laboratory for Ph.D. Students in Sociology; 2015
Institución organizadora:
International Sociological Association
In Argentina, the last thirty years experienced different processes of residential segregation of popular sectors of the population, with an important growth of informal settlements, at the same time that middle and high classes tended to auto-segregate themselves. This coincided with a national housing deficit with important consequences at a social level. As the social and economic variables were getting better in the last decade, housing variables tended to do worse. This happened at the same time as ethnicity became hyper-visible and many foreign groups grew in their public visibility. In Latin America, there has been a preeminence of studies of socio-economic residential segregation, where only few have tensioned and questioned the processes of urbanization and, even less, taken into account migration and race as an important gateway to understand residential segregation. In Argentina, most of these studies centered in the big metropolitan areas, mainly in Buenos Aires, our capital, so most of the mid-size cities were left behind. This has effects not only in the academic field, but also in public policies, because the issues mid-size cities are facing in Argentina are dealt with solutions that were though for big metropolitan areas. Puerto Madryn, a port city in Central Patagonia, has suffered an important demographic growth in the last forty years, which turned a small town of six thousand people in the early seventies into a mid-size city of more than eighty thousand in the first decade of this century. This had important effects on the urban scenario, as the main social conflict in the last two decades was the housing deficit and the consequent struggle for the use and disposition of urban space (Oszlak, 1991). From common sense we tend to naturalize the relationship between migration and urbanization, as if demographic growth pressures generating all kinds of urban issues, such as housing problems, public services to collapse, urban crimes and violence as a collateral damage of the ?modernization? that turns a small town into a city. However, migration or demographic growth are not the only variables that explain the forms that residential segregation acquires, especially since the city has suffered a process of mercantilization of its? lands. We understand residential segregation as the process by which the population of a city locates in spaces of homogeneous social composition (Katzman, 2001) and seek to understand the principle forms it takes, from socio-economic variables, to ethnic and racist ones and how exclusion processes relate to the way urban space is constructed. In this we acknowledge the legacy of the de-colonial authors who show the way race has been undermined as a hierarchy variable in Latin America. We also argue with the classical Latin American perspectives that emphasize socio-economic variables in the process of residential segregation leaving behind migration variables.We want to comprehend the urban experience of residential segregation in mid-size cities, where time and scale are very different as in big metropolitan areas. We will pay particular attention to the place of the Bolivian immigrant in the city, the main foreign collective in Puerto Madryn, his hyper-visibility and how urban repertoires have symbolic and practical impacts in the quotidian life of segregated neighborhoods. The analysis of the moral and cognitive repertoires, of the relation and forms that urban space takes, make symbolic frontiers appear and develop into material ones. This also has a heuristic advantage, which allows us to understand the embeddednes between the economic, racial and ethnic variables in urban space. For these we choose to comprehend the experience of neighborhoods where we do fieldwork to rethink how signs and brands operate in the local context. Because of the nature of the research, we work with mixed methodologies, between quantitative and qualitative technics in a sort of triangulation. On one hand, we analyze residential segregation and the demographic growth through statistics tools and geographical informational systems. We use the last five national census to explain the demographic transformation. Then we use the micro-data at the minimum statistical level to comprehend the distribution of different variables, to build thematic maps and make spatial correlations and build segregation indexes . On the other hand, we use qualitative technics such as participatory observation, in depth interviews and the analysis of documents. With such tools we want to understand the experience, the practical and symbolic effects of residential segregation, to build the moral repertoires, and to rebuild the process of urbanization and the history of certain spaces of the city, all analysis that are unreachable with quantitative tools. It is important to acknowledge that, in the dissertation, we must consider how the local processes we will be analyzing refract in regional, national and global processes. As a consequence, we should take into account the superposition of different scales and contexts, which we should solve with an empirical approach as Puerto Madryn is a sort of counterfactual city in Argentina, that industrialized when the country was going the opposite direction, with an economy dependent on aluminum and fishery exportation and international and national tourism.