Silvia Grinberg
Orcid ID:
Conicet / Universidad Nacional de San Martín, Argentina


This article brings up some elements for a genealogy of the urban space, where through the threefold coloniality, urbanization, and modernity take us closer to problematize contemporary forms of biopolitics. A history of our current urbanity in Buenos Aires, a metropolis that, like others in the Global South, has been facing an increasing and ongoing expansion of the urban spot from the late 20th century on, occurring on the shadow of processes through which, while several areas grow larger getting features of globalized cosmopolitan places, others grow too, but they remain stuck in forms of precarized urbanization. This work and the discussions presented happen at the meeting point of ethnography and biopolitics. In this intersection, field data contribute to the debate on the role of ethnography in the memory of present times, through an archive that sets up of a series of events, relations, and struggles, occurring both in and because of the territory. In this archive, the lines of present time are pulled by other from other strings pulled by other strings that remind us of their presence from the limbo of history. They are the image of forgotten histories, overlapped in present, that enable us to undermine linear progressive notions of urban development, and remind us that violence lies buried deep not only in the historic record but also in urban landscape. We propose that panic, fears, and anguishes inherent to the urban are not new to the 21st century, but they are an essential component in the setting up of modern and colonial Buenos Aires.

Keywords: Ethnography, biopolitics, coloniality, precarious dwellings, Buenos Aires, governmentality.