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Housing movements and the politics of worthiness in São Paulo

Kopper, Moisés and Richmond, Matthew A. (2021) Housing movements and the politics of worthiness in São Paulo. Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology, 26 (2). pp. 276-296. ISSN 1935-4932

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Identification Number: 10.1111/jlca.12533


Based on research with current and former housing activists in São Paulo, this article identifies the concept of “politics of worthiness” as central to the moral justification and technical legitimation of social movements. Attributions of worthiness have long upheld the relationship between institutionalized grassroots organizations and the state but are equally present in everyday life and social distinctions among Brazil's popular classes. By examining contrasting constructions of worthiness among both present-day housing movements and residents of areas that are the product of past mobilizations, the article contends that collective experiences of mobilization in dialogue with myriad external influences produce diverse and often ambivalent political subjectivities. The politics of worthiness sheds light on how these actors organize themselves, experience participation, and square universalist demands with the contingent solidarities and changing social, institutional, and political realities that they inhabit.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: IGA: Latin America and Caribbean Centre
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2021 17:54
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2021 00:07

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