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Urban Poverty, Political Participation, and the State

Urban Poverty, Political Participation, and the State: Lima, 1970–1990

Henry Dietz
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    Urban Poverty, Political Participation, and the State
    Book Description:

    Urban Poverty, Political Participation, and the Stateoffers an unparalleled longitudinal view of how the urban poor saw themselves and their neighborhoods and how they behaved and organized to provide their neighborhoods with basic goods and services. Grounding research on theoretical notions from Albert Hirschman and an analytical framework from Verba and Nie, Dietz produces findings that hold great interest for comparativists and students of political behavior in general.

    eISBN: 978-0-8229-7193-1
    Subjects: Political Science, History

Table of Contents

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    (pp. 1-21)

    The last half of the twentieth century has witnessed enormous and fundamental changes throughout the Third World. World War II saw colonialism replaced by frequendy fragile and unsustainable efforts at independence and nation-building. Socialism and communism collapsed, leaving economic and political systems groping to find replacements. Capitalism and democracy both flourished, at least rhetorically, but their shallow roots often became painfully clear, as the dependent status of many nations and their poverty and inequitable distribution of resources (education, income, wealth, power) made the futures of both democracy and capitalism uncertain. Demographic changes—especially the growth and redistribution of populations—forced...

    (pp. 22-42)

    The four macrolevel factors that, a priori, can be assumed to influence the behavior of Lima’s urban poor over time are as follows: (1) macroeconomic conditions, (2) the presence and intensity of poverty, (3) the Peruvian state, and (4) state–civil society relations. In addition, two other factors—metropolitan Lima itself and its individual neighborhoods—act as filters or lenses to focus the impacts of these four macro variables in a specific fashion. The four macrolevel factors are obviously interrelated, and one purpose of the model offered here is to identify such interrelationships. But treating each one separately also has...

    (pp. 43-62)

    I havb just proposbd a model and a series of hypotheses to show how several national-level macro processes and structures influence both the urban environment and an individual’s political participation. The city reacts to national economic deterioration or improvement, and to the spread or reduction of poverty. It also reacts to, and thereby affects, the state’s ability to regulate what goes on within the city and to distribute goods and services to the city and those who live in it. Changes in state capacity in turn affect state–civil society relations. I assume that Lima focuses and often intensifies macro...

    (pp. 63-86)

    Lima has been the capital city of Peru since its founding in 1532, but it has always been much more than that. Lima is Peru’s economic, social, cultural, and financial center; it dominates the rest of the country.¹ As a result, the province of Lima, which contains the city and its surrounding suburban, exurban, and rural areas, has been overwhelmingly Peru’s wealthiest and most advanced.

    Studies on the distribution of poverty in Peru (Cruz Saco 1992; Glewwe 1988; Glewwe and de Tray 1989) all agree that the metropolitan Lima area ranks far higher in poverty than any other part of...

    (pp. 87-109)

    It is now appropriate to focus in on the six specific neighborhoods that were the sites for the surveys carried out in 1970, 1982, 1985, and 1990. In Lima, as in many other Third World nations, there are two broad classifications of low-income housing (Grompone et al. 1983, 57; Driant 1991; Dietz 1980): (1) rental housing in and around the central city core and in working-class districts (or tugurios); and (2) self-help autonomous squatter settlement housing (or pueblos jóvenes), almost always illegal in origin and in general located on the periphery of the city. Any representative study of Lima’s poor...

    (pp. 110-135)

    People become involved in politics in several ways and for a wide variety of reasons. My principal aim here is to describe some of the fundamental ways Lima’s pobladores participated over two decades. How and why did these ways—or modes—themselves change? and how did the frequencies of poblador involvement in them change? It is useful here to recall the model in chapter 1 that sketched in some of the relationships between democracy, conceived of as a public good, and two preference dimensions—political and economic—that can influence an individual citizen’s decisions about political behavior over time.


  7. 7 INFORMAL PARTICIPATION: Grassroots Involvement and State Petitioning
    (pp. 136-188)

    To undertake an examination of informal political participation over time, it is useful to return again to the model sketched in chapters 1 and 6 which characterized democracy as a collective good, and which argued that individual citizens make choices about how they will participate in politics based on two preference dimensions: apoliticalpreference dimension for democracy over any other political system, and aneconomicpreference dimension for material well-being over material deprivation. If, over time, democracy is perceived by low-income citizens as being either responsible for or unable to prevent increased material deprivation, then the preference for democracy...

  8. 8 FORMAL PARTICIPATION: The Transition to Democracy and Economic Crisis
    (pp. 189-224)

    Examining patterns of informal political participation offers perhaps the most direct means of identifying what the poor consider rational expenditures of time and effort (see chapters 6 and 7). Neighborhood involvement, local grassroots activities, and local and state petitioning are, after all, activities that the poor either create out of whole cloth on their own or (in the case of state-directed petitioning) decide for themselves to do or not do. Since these activities are not mandated by the state, they reflect most precisely what the pobladores themselves see as rational ways to provide material goods and improvements for themselves and...

    (pp. 225-245)

    This study began with a number of basic notions and concepts to orient the whole discussion of political participation among low-income urban dwellers in Lima from 1970 to 1990. But two major questions have dominated from the start. The first overarching question—which deals with the dependent variable of the whole effort, namely, political participation—asks in what ways Lima’s urban poor participated in polities, and whether these ways changed over time. This basic query gave rise to many subsidiary questions. What advantages accrue by conceptualizing participation as formal and informal? What are the benefits gained by using the idea...

  10. 10 EPILOGUE
    (pp. 246-258)

    This study formally ended in 1990. I completed the survey and my in-depth interviews, I visited the neighborhoods one last time, and I decided to call it quits on the research. It would have been possible to extend the project, but I thought twenty years a good round number. Yet, for a variety of reasons, completing the manuscript took longer than I anticipated, and now almost a decade has passed since the final survey was done.

    Peru, Lima and its urban poor, their political involvement, and politics in general have not stopped, of course. Indeed, the past eight years have...

  11. APPENDIX Selecting the Research Communities
    (pp. 259-264)