Episode 34 – Radical Municipal Politics in Latin America since the 1990s

Gianpaolo Baiocchi offers us an historical overview of what he terms Radical Cities in Latin America and draws out some lessons from the past 30 years. Comparing these experiences to municipal politics in Europe and elsewhere, he highlights the distinctive features and charts the ups and downs of these urban movements. Massive suburbanization, metropolitan fragmentation and reactionary backlashes in Brazil and elsewhere have been posing key challenges for reconfiguring a municipalist politics in this part of the world. Taking cues from our recent podcast roundtable on Murray Bookchin’s work, Gianpaolo discusses radical misunderstandings around the notion of sovereignty and argues why a transformative urban politics needs to uphold a critical understanding and practice of popular sovereignty. The episode finishes with Gianpaolo’s reflection on how he relates his position as a university researcher in New York City with current activist and political engagements.

Our guest:

Gianpaolo Baiocchi

Gianpaolo is a sociologist and an ethnographer interested in questions of politics and culture, critical social theory, and cities. He is a professor of individualized studies and sociology at NYU, where he directs the Urban Democracy Lab. Gianpaolo continues to work with The Right To The City Alliance and the Defend Democracy in Brazil Network. His most recent book is We, The Sovereign. In addition to academic writing, he regularly contributes to outlets like Boston Review, NACLA Report on the Americas, and Dissent, among others.

Links: NACLA Report – Radical Cities in Latin America: Past and Present: https://nacla.org/news/2019/12/06/radical-cities-latin-america-past-and-present

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