Transnational migration and urban informality: Ethnicity in Buenos Aires' informal settlements

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Ethnicity is playing an increasingly important role in the ways in which informality is governed and regulated across cities in the global south. This raises concerns regarding the ensuing exclusion experienced by some groups of people living in informal settlements. In this paper I use the example of Buenos Aires, Argentina, to explore the extent to which ethnicity plays a role in the informal settlement. There is significant evidence that Argentina has gone through a process of de-ethnicisation, particularly at the national level. However, it is unclear whether this process is also evident at the level of the informal settlement. Drawing on a range of interviews, the paper finds that while grassroots organisations are de-ethnicising, the formal leadership of the informal settlement and to some extent also migrants reproduce ethnic divisions. The de-ethnicisation led by the state has therefore unequally percolated to the micro level.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1810-1825
Number of pages15
JournalUrban Studies
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Buenos Aires, cities, ethnicity, exclusion, informality, migration

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global Development Institute


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