The extraordinary urbanization of the 20th century has produced urban peripheries of devastating poverty and inequality in cities worldwide. At the same time, the struggles of their residents for the basic resources of daily life and shelter have also generated new movements of insurgent citizenship based on their claims to have a right to the city and a right to rights. The resulting contemporary metropolis is a site of collision between forces of exploitation and dispossession and increasingly coherent, yet still fragile and contradictory movements for new kinds of citizen power and social justice. This essay examines the entanglements of these insurgent urban citizenships both with entrenched systems of inequality and with new forms of destabilization and violence. Using the case of Brazil, it argues that these clashes entail conflicts of alternative formulations of citizenship and that sites of metropolitan innovation often emerge at the very sites of metropolitan degradation.
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