El derecho a una vivienda

Translated title of the contribution: The right to a home

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The right to a home is a basic human right in international declarations and figures in many national constitutions. It can also be given a bourgeois reading as the foundation of property-owning liberal democracy, with interesting consequences when citizens see their rights as violated. This paper charts the changing definition of the right to housing through the UN-Habitat agenda, discussing that agenda's strengths and weaknesses from an anthropological perspective. Analysis then turns to the fact that much of the world's population has had to find its own solutions to housing problems, discussing debates around the regularization of informal housing, settlements and land and housing markets and the social implications of different approaches. Arguing that despite its emphasis on participatory planning and the universality of rights to the city, the UN approach still sidelines more difficult questions arising from the relationships between housing, habitat and patterns of sociability, the paper concludes by considering the conditions facing social movements struggling for rights to the city in an environment of class-biased urban regeneration and gentrification, incorporating the insights into micro-level social processes offered by ethnographic research into a multi-scalar perspective on the power relations that have structured the recent development of metropolitan cities.
Translated title of the contributionThe right to a home
Original languageSpanish
Pages (from-to)103-129
Number of pages26
JournalRevista de Antropologia Social
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Housing
  • Human rights
  • Informal markets
  • Rights to the city
  • Slums
  • Urban development


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