La participación ciudadana en la construcción urbana de la vila de santa luzia (Recife, Brasil) un diálogo desde el género, la identidad y la política

Student thesis: Doctoral thesis


The investigation inquires into the material and social building of the space in the neighbourhood Vila de Santa Luzia, a lacking community of Recife, through participative processes which include a gender perspective. A collective building of public space that integers the concepts of appropriation and identification of the space on behalf of their inhabitants. The production of this urban space, Vila de Santa Luzia, was and still is a complex scheme with multiple dimensions which is continuously changing. Nevertheless, its core is unalterable: the struggle for recognition and consciousness of human dignity. In conclusion, the participation of its inhabitants originates from the tireless dispute for human rights. Moreover, citizenship participation in the transformation of space is assembled with the social categories of gender, class, age and ethnic group. In Santa Luzia’s context, women have a main role in the transformation of their territory and the processes that it generates. For this reason, the analysis incorporates, as a transversal axis, the gender approach and is based on the Equality and Equity Principles from the Human Rights and the Declaration for the Women’s Rights to the City. During the development of the thesis, I analyse the unequal relationships between men and women which are used as a basis to go in depth into women’s participation in social and urban public politics. In first place, the investigation studies the interaction between social movements and public politics, and the coverage of the citizenship basic needs and interests. In second place, it tries to comprehend whether the feelings of belonging and identification with the neighbourhood allow to develop a collective consciousness to participate in its social building. In third place, it analyses who are the social actors that promote and encourage the processes of citizenship participation. In fourth place, it explains the social impact that the citizenship participation processes have in the urban transformation of the neighbourhood. A qualitative methodology has been applied in the study, which included a three months field work in the community of Vila de Santa Luzia. The results of the analysis reflect that the social actors’ participation in the Vila de Santa Luzia is subjected to three main axis: political practice, violence and the feeling of belonging to the place. In consequence, the interactions between social movements and public politics, the feeling of belonging to the territory and the determining factors when participating, have a direct impact on the territory. This impact is addresses in two ways: on one hand, the socio-spatial fragmentation that already existed in Vila de Santa Luzia is increased, both in the social and political environments. On the other hand, the building of a collective identity is strengthened. As I emphasize in the development of the investigation, people participation in the social transformation of the community in the different social scales (their home, environment, neighbourhood and city) is the proof that it is possible a change in the exercise of power for the democratic management of the city. It has to be underlined, that it is needed that citizenship participation breaks the different obstacle that it faces and places the efforts in the real construction of the Right to the City and social justice. Besides, it is also essential that politicians identify themselves with the population, territory and socio-spatial practises, and political practice, for the democratic management of cities.
Date of Award10 Feb 2016
Original languageSpanish
SupervisorEnric Mendizàbal Riera (Director) & Maria Prats Ferret (Director)


  • Participation
  • Gender
  • Identity

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