City of Clones: Facsimiles and Governance in São Paulo, Brazil
Willis, Graham Denyer
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Willis, G. D. (2016). City of Clones: Facsimiles and Governance in São Paulo, Brazil. Current Sociology https://doi.org/10.1177/0011392116657295
São Paulo, Brazil, is a megacity defined by formal and informal patterns of urbanization. Informally urbanized spaces are not absent of state intent, despite appearances. Rather, the state’s apparent absence is itself a form of governance: such populations are decisively left to die. Such abandonment has, paradoxically, given rise to a number of grassroots-led social and spatial practices for survival, agency, and self-governance. Even so, these auto-constructed responses and conditions contribute to the reproduction of urban political order in surprisingly unoriginal and routinely recognizable ways. I argue that these unexceptional informal practices can be understood as ‘facsimiles’ of their formal institutional originals, or counterparts. Using the examples of cloned cars I show that the facsimile and the original are, for all practical purposes, the same in form and function. I further argue that facsimiles do not exist outside of political authority, but are a byproduct and a component of it. The consequence is that the facsimile and the original are indistinguishable in their bureaucratic deployment, recognition and acceptance as part of social and spatial order.
governance, informality, cities, Brazil, São Paulo
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0011392116657295
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/256818