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The governmentality of multiculturalism: from national pluri-ethnicity to urban cosmopolitanism in Bogotá

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Using a combination of discourse analysis in policy documents and ethnographic fieldwork, this paper interrogates the relation between Colombia’s pluri-ethnic turn and the governance of cosmopolitan multiculturalism in the capital city, Bogotá. Focussing on the city’s most important development framework, the POT (Plan de Ordenamiento Territorial), it reveals the controversy that exists between the multicultural discourses of the public administration (rooted in claims of ethno-racial equality and Affirmative Action) and their operationalisation in urban planning. In doing so, the paper conceptualises the urban governmentality of multiculturalism as the apparatus through which the municipality has been removing anti-racism and a race-informed understanding of socio-spatial dynamics from Bogotá’s official agenda of ‘cosmopolitan multiculturalism.’ By drawing on Latin American racial theories of mestizaje, the paper thus extends the understanding of how neoliberal urban governance, while celebrating cultural diversity, denies the racialization of space in the city



4702 Cultural Studies, 44 Human Society, 47 Language, Communication and Culture, 4406 Human Geography, 4407 Policy and Administration, 4408 Political Science

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Informa UK Limited
While the author received no financial support for the publication and authorship of this article the doctoral research from which it stems was funded by a joint studentship (2016-2019) from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (Cambridge Doctoral Training Partnership) and King’s College, University of Cambridge. Further financial support for research fieldwork in Colombia was provided by the Society for Latin American Studies, the Department of Architecture, and the Worts Travelling Scholars Fund at the University of Cambridge.