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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Book, "Activist Scholarship and Urban Land Invasions" by Marc Becker

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By Marc Becker
Neoliberal economic policies that privatized government services and diminished social safety nets in the 1980s and 1990s placed impoverished people in Latin America in an economically vulnerable position. In response, illegal land seizures led to squatter settlements in many Latin American cities. Often these urban social movements focused on very tangible goals: acquisition of water, electricity, sewers, and title to the land that they had occupied. How to realize these often elusive goals, however, remained an open question in a changing economic and political environment. Labor unions and leftist political parties had lost the power that they previously had held to influence government policy. A question that emerged was what new types of strategies grassroots activists could effectively implement to realize the social, political, and economic changes that they envisioned.

Paul Dosh’s compelling study of 10 land invasions that resulted in squatter settlements in Lima, Peru, and Quito, Ecuador, between 1990 and 2005 examines competing strategies …

Latin American Perspectives
January 2016 43: 266-267
first published on June 2, 2015