Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : In Latin America’s pink tide democracies, peripheries were pivotal openings into the ambiguities of political and economic urban governance. Once portrayed as territories of decay, state disregard, and societal oblivion, peripheries turned into key moral and spatial assemblages in Brazil’s post-neoliberal project of a “de-poored,” middle-class country. This article draws on ethnographic research conducted in two peripheral Minha Casa Minha Vida projects—Brazil’s large-scale public housing program—in the city of Porto Alegre. Charting the long-term entanglements of local activism, communal hope, and national developmentalism, I argue that peripheral zones illuminate the ambivalences of state- and place-making. Unveiling the politics of differentiation and distended governance that render one periphery a successful case of state and market intervention over the other, I explore how images of the “model periphery” are enforced through local infrastructures of worth and the effacement of its failed Other: the intractable faraway periphery, deemed to disappear in the name of public accountability and social and economic development. In conclusion, the article suggests that the consorted travails of leaders, citizen activists, politicians, and planners in casting visibility onto the model periphery contribute to bolstering and obscuring extant patterns of urban segregation and social inequality.