“We Are Clients of the Earth": Value Creation and the Production of Space among Bolivian Migrants in Buenos Aires




Dolph, Charles R.

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Neoliberalization in Argentina has been characterized by a spatial strategy of interior exclusion from the Federal District of the capital, Buenos Aires. The eradication of slums and polarization of class and space beginning during the military dictatorship pushed poor residents and immigrants out of many areas of the Federal District and onto the margins of Greater Buenos Aires. Yet, paradoxically, it is often the labor of such marginalized groups that produces the urban space of the Federal Capital, and by extension, the Argentine nation. This thesis focuses on processes of value creation and the social constructions of space and time among Bolivian migrants, particularly construction workers, in Buenos Aires. Focusing on labor at the point of production, the thesis shows how Bolivian migrants actively articulate capitalist value creation, and in doing so become caught up in and reproduce the social relations of capitalist production. As projects of neoliberal globalization foment urbanization and migrations, however, migrant communities recreate alternate value fields to the dominant neoliberal ideologies of free markets and discourses of nationalist modernity. The thesis thus moves on to consider the dialectic of market and society through an analysis of value creation in Bolivians’ ritual performance of worshipping a nominally Catholic virgin each August in a shanty town of Buenos Aires.



Value, Urbanization, Labor, Social space, Migration, Nation-state