Insurgent citizenships have arisen in cities around the world. This book examines the insurgence of democratic citizenship in the urban peripheries of Sao Paulo, Brazil, its entanglement with entrenched systems of inequality, and its contradiction in violence. James Holston argues that for two centuries Brazilians have practiced a type of citizenship all too common among nation-states--one that is universally inclusive in national membership and massively inegalitarian in distributing rights and in its legalization of social differences. But since the 1970s, he shows, residents of Brazil's urban peripheries have formulated a new citizenship that is destabilizing the old. Their mobilizations have developed not primarily through struggles of labor but through those of the city--particularly illegal residence, house building, and land conflict. Yet precisely as Brazilians democratized urban space and achieved political democracy, violence, injustice, and impunity increased dramatically.
Based on comparative, ethnographic, and historical research, Insurgent Citizenship reveals why the insurgent and the entrenched remain dangerously conjoined as new kinds of citizens expand democracy even as new forms of violence and exclusion erode it. Rather than view this paradox as evidence of democratic failure and urban chaos, Insurgent Citizenship argues that contradictory realizations of citizenship characterize all democracies--emerging and established. Focusing on processes of city- and citizen-making now prevalent globally, it develops new approaches for understanding the contemporary course of democratic citizenship in societies of vastly different cultures and histories.
James Holston is professor of anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of "The Modernist City" and the editor of "Cities and Citizenship".
List of Illustrations and Tables xi Preface xiii PART ONE: DISRUPTIONS Chapter 1: Citizenship Made Strange 3 Public Standing and Everyday Citizenship 15 Particular Citizenships 18 Treating the Unequal Unequally 25 History as an Argument about the Present 33 PART TWO: INEQUALITIES Chapter 2: In/Divisible Nations 39 Comparative Formulations 41 French Indivisibility 44 American Restriction 52 Brazilian Inclusion 62 Chapter 3: Limiting Political Citizenship 82 The Surprisingly Broad Colonial Franchise 83 Restrictions with Independence 88 A Long Step Backward into Oligarchy 100 Urbanization and the Equalization of Rights 104 Chapter 4: Restricting Access to Landed Property 112 Property, Personality, and Civil Standing 113 Land, Labor, and Law 116 The Tangle of Colonial Land Tenure 118 National Land Reform, Slavery, and Immigrant Free Labor 123 The Land Law of 1850 131 Land Law and Market Become Accomplices of Fraud 136 Illegality, Inequality, and Instability as Norms 142 Chapter 5: Segregating the City 146 Center and Periphery 147 Evicting Workers and Managing Society 157 Autoconstructing the Peripheries 165 Social Rights for Urban Labor 186 A Differentiated Citizenship 197 PART THREE: INSURGENCIES Chapter 6: Legalizing the Illegal 203 The Illegal Periphery 206 A Case of Land Fraud in Jardim das Camelias 213 Histories of Dubious Origins 219 Federal Ownership Claims: Sesmarias and Indians 220 Ackel Ownership Claims: Posse and Squatter's Rights 223 The Ownership Claims of Adis and the State of Sao Paulo 224 The Misrule of Law 227 Chapter 7: Urban Citizens 233 New Civic Participation 235 The Mobilization of Lar Nacional 241 Reinventing the Public Sphere 247 New Foundations of Rights 253 Rights as Privilege 254 Contributor Rights 260 Text-Based Rights 264 PART FOUR: DISJUNCTIONS Chapter 8: Dangerous Spaces of Citizenship 271 Everyday Incivilities 275 In/Justice 284 Gang Talk and Rights Talk 300 Insurgent Citizenships and Disjunctive Democracies 309 Notes 315 Bibliography 361 Index 375