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Panel 13. Space and Political Participation in Popular Sectors: Perspectives and Challenges


  • Nicolás Angelcos, Universidad de Chile/COES
  • Sebastián Mauro, CONICET/ Universidad de Buenos Aires
  • Valentina Abuhele, Universidad de Chile


Since its inception, sociology has been intrigued by the impact of physical space on social relations (Logan, 2012). From an ecological perspective, the Chicago School examined how ethnic segregation in various city areas affected social integration or disintegration (Wirth, 1927). This idea was later imported in the 1960s by Roger Vekemans to illustrate how the segregation of the urban poor on the outskirts of major Latin American cities influenced their political involvement. The internal disintegration characteristic of urban marginality was reflected in attitudes of apathy and rejection towards mainstream society institutions, often guided by populist or revolutionary leaderships (Vekemans and Venegas, 1966).

The extensive involvement of residents from low-income neighborhoods in urban uprisings worldwide has brought to light the question of how physical space shapes their political behavior. About the riots carried out by young immigrants in Paris, Cortèsero and Marlière (2015) emphasize a common theme in various research studies: the “spatialization” of social issues. To what extent does the (new) urban question mirror the social question? Does spatial proximity or distance replicate or intensify political marginalization? Currently, various research studies underscore the importance of examining political participation in low-income sectors through the lens of space.

In this context, it has been emphasized how territory (shantytowns, neighborhoods, and communities) has evolved into a space for socialization and political organization (Merklen, 2009; Holston, 2019), enabling the accumulation of resources (Halvorsen and Torres, 2022), and becoming a component of political parties’ mobilization strategies (Halvorsen, 2020). This session invites diverse presentations that challenge the relationship between space and political participation in low-income sectors. Some key questions guiding this session include: How does proximity or distance influence the development of political legitimacy? How do political strategies employed by parties and movements make use of physical space? What are the different levels of participation, and which actors are involved? How does a neighborhood’s reputation affect how its residents engage with politics? How does space intersect with other factors influencing political participation, such as gender, generation, race, or ethnicity?

Centro de Estudios de Conflicto y Cohesión Social.

Diagonal Paraguay 257,
Torre 26, Oficina 1504
Santiago – RM

Los Navegantes 1963
Providencia – RM