The modern metropolis has been called 'the symbol of our times', and life in it epitomizes, for many, modernity itself. But what to make of inherited ideas of modernity when faced with life in Mexico City and São Paulo, two of the largest metropolises in the world? Is their fractured reality, their brutal social contrasts, and the ever-escalating violence faced by their citizens just an intensification of what Engels described in the first in-depth analysis of an industrial metropolis, nineteenth century Manchester? Or have post-industrial and neo-globalized economies given rise to new forms of urban existence in the so-called developing world?
Life in the Megalopolis: Mexico City and São Paulo investigates how such questions are explored in cultural productions from these two Latin American megalopolises, the focus being on literature, film popular music, and visual arts. This book combines close readings of works with a constant reference to theoretical, anthropological and social studies of these two cities, and builds on received definitions of the concept megalopolis
Life in the Megalopolis is the first book to combine urban-studies theories (particularly Lefebvre, Harvey, and de Certeau) with Benjaminian cultural analyses, and theoretical discussions with close-readings of recent cultural works in various media. It is also the first book to compare Mexico City and São Paulo.
Table of Contents
1. Approaching the Monster Part 1: Terra Incognita 2. In Fragments for the Millennium 3. Flanerie Part 2: Find your Place in the Neighbourhood 4. Barrio/Bairro 5. Capao Redondo and the Space of Rap 6. Writing on the Wall and Other Interventions: Epilogue in a Small Gallery
Lúcia Sá is Professor of Brazilian Cultural Studies at the University of Manchester
"I highly recommend Sa’s work, especially to those who study Latin American cities and/or the arts. It is an insightful study of how to 'read' the reality and changes of urban life and social processes through a variety of cultural products." -- JOURNAL OF REGIONAL SCIENCE, VOL. 50, NO. 2, 2010