top of page

Popular urban economies and community self organization in Buenos Aires

By Ana Julia Bustos and Alioscia Castronovo

Extitutional urbanism in Latin America.

Edited by Adriana Goni Mazzitelli and Mauro Gil Fournier


Popular economies emerge in Latin America as heterogeneous assemblages of multiples strategies, alternative market, collective ways of reproducing life, self managed community labour and welfare experiences disputing spaces to the global market and the State . These frameworks needs to be contextualized in the capitalistic accumulation processes, where intensification of extraction (Harvey, 2012), concentration of wealth, colonization of spaces, extensions of valorisation processes (Fraser, 20124) are mixed with intensification of labour and financial exploitation (Gago, Mezzadra, 2015). We conceptualize the “popular” as “plebeian”, in terms of class, social antagonism and resonances with the crisis and ruptures (Gutiérrez Aguilar: 2015) that constituted abigarradas (Zavaleta Mercado, 2008) and ch’ixi (Rivera Cusicanqui: 2010) ways of life in Latin America. Although popular economies emerge as “renovated” strategies to face the crisis as a regime of accumulation, they reactualize permanently long memories showing a deep temporal horizon; moreover, they dispute urban spaces, redefine territories and social conflict, contribute to the production of the common and value (not only monetary or economic), combining community frameworks, calculation and popular pragmatism to face neoliberal dispossessions (Gago, 2014; Gutiérrez Aguilar 2015). From our perspective more than “informal” subsistence in “marginal territories” they constitute infrastructures of an emergent popular institutionality: in order to contribute to the conceptualization of popular economies, we analyze two different processes of community organization in Buenos Aires, based on the hypothesis that popular institutionality open up the possibility of a new urban -popular infrastructure in the neoliberal age.


bottom of page