Revanchist Urbanism Heads South: The Regulation of Indigenous Beggars and Street Vendors in Ecuador



Abstract:  Much of the discussion surrounding neoliberal urbanism has been empirically grounded in the North. This paper shifts the discussion south to focus on the regulation of indigenous street vendors and beggars in the Andean nation of Ecuador. Inspired by zero tolerance policies from the North, the cities of Quito and Guayaquil have recently initiated urban regeneration projects to cleanse the streets of informal workers, beggars, and street children. In this paper, I explore the particular and pernicious ways in which these neoliberal urban policies affect indigenous peoples in the urban informal sector. Grounded in the literature on space, race and ethnicity in the Andes, I argue that Ecuador's particular twist on revanchism is through its more transparent engagement with the project of blanqueamiento or “whitening”. I further argue that Ecuador's “refinement” of revanchist urban policies only works to displace already marginalised individuals and push them into more difficult circumstances.