Eleonora Elguezabal is a PhD candidate in sociology, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales / Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris.
TITLE: “The Production of Urban Boundaries: Naming Conflicts, Property Management and the Division of Labor in the New Luxury and Secured Buildings in Buenos Aires”
ABSTRACT: This presentation is based on my research for my PhD dissertation at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, France. My PhD dissertation explores the construction of urban boundaries at the crossroad of different social worlds. It discusses the dual-city theories by a double strategy: 1/Doing fieldwork in some places that symbolize the socially homogeneous upper-class constructed communities of equals, chiefly in fortified buildings in Buenos Aires (close to the American gated communities); 2/Approaching these places by focusing the fieldwork on their employees and their work -in order to study their relation to the urban and social space and to their employers, and also the way these buildings run. The aim of my research is to analyze the construction of urban boundaries and to reintroduce an approach in terms of domination in the study of an object that is most usually seen in terms of exclusion. My methodology is mainly ethnographical, completed by statistics and library methods. I will focus my presentation on the first part of my dissertation, which deals with the social construction of these fortified buildings in Buenos Aires as particular and distinctive objects or institutions. This construction of difference is a subject of dispute at the crossroad of different social worlds: architecture and urban politics, the hierarchy of residential models in the residential space, building management and unions. The aim of this first part is to draw up a symbolic plan of the city using these categorization conflicts as a source. By doing this, I show how the critical positions (especially the dominant scholarly approach) as well as the legitimizing positions towards these buildings tend to identify spatial with social boundaries, but the limits of the category distinguishing these buildings (called “torres” or “complejos”) are flexible according to the position of different actors and the result of the conflicts about them.