Selling the American Dream in Uruguay and Argentina: Urban Agglomerations and Neoliberal Visions of Citizenship, 1990–2006

Monday, January 6, 2020: 12:00 PM
Bowery (Sheraton New York)
Daniel Richter, University of Maryland, College Park
This paper explores how large-scale urban developments and gated communities in Montevideo, Uruguay and Buenos Aires, Argentina in the period from 1990 to 2006 have developed new spatial landscapes and categorizations of work, consumption, and citizenship. By examining the boosterism of real estate developers and mass media for the mega-developments of Zonamerica in Uruguay and Nordelta in Argentina, this paper argues that the histories of these two communities provide a lens into new histories of citizenship in modern Latin American metropolitan centers. Drawing on Uruguayan and Argentine trade publications and national newspapers, the paper explores the contradictions and struggles of both neoliberal and politically progressive governments to address economic and spatial inequality in the metropolitan centers of Latin American capitals.

As a comparative and transnational history of suburbanization in the Río de la Plata region, this paper also considers how Uruguayan and Argentine real estate developers have offered developmentalist agendas in the 20th and early 21st century while advocating for the significance of their new communities to promote new solutions to underdevelopment in national economies and metropolitan areas. The paper evaluates the reception of these developmentalist discourses in Argentina and Uruguay's public spheres and explores the counterdiscourses and differences in public criticism of recent suburbanization in Argentina and Uruguay. Ultimately, the paper considers how critiques of spatial segregation are also connected to larger debates about definitions of rights in Argentina and Uruguay's democracies.

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