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Title: A City Transformed? Gendering the strategies and experience of urban change in Medellín
Authors: Young, Alexandra
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This thesis contributes a feminist analysis of the urban transformation of Medellín, Colombia. By looking to the everyday experiences and practices in the city and assessing the gender logics that have informed and shaped their urban development strategy, I evaluate the celebrated urban transformation and highlight paradoxes within it. In a city that is globally recognised for its innovative strategies of development and reduction in levels of violence primarily from the ‘turning point’ in 2003, I pay attention to the gender inequalities and gender-based violence that continue to challenge local government and activists alike. The interdisciplinary research is situated within broader scholarship highlighting the gendered everyday of urban space and violence. Feminist scholars have shown how gender is mediated through underpinning political structures of patriarchy and neoliberalism, and how it is situated embodied and experienced in the everyday. I consider each of these dimensions within the city’s institutions and beyond, exploring how gender has informed the policies, planning and successes of the urban transformation, alongside the lived (gendered) experience of the urban landscape. Focusing upon the connected themes of culture, space, and security, I show where and how each fit within a gendered understanding of the city and its policies for change. Drawing upon extensive ethnographic fieldwork and detailed interviews with activists, government officials and residents I provide a multi-layered account of the urban space and those who shape it. As such this thesis contributes an understanding of the contradictions and fractures that exist between, and underpin, the award-winning policy and the lived experience of the city. By paying attention to the gendered limitations of the urban transformation I show how such changes continue to fall short in truly ‘transforming’ – a process that requires challenging the systems of power including, but not limited to, unequal gender relations.
Description: Ph.D thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Modern Languages

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