Skrabut, K. 2021. "Use, Exchange, and Speculation: The Politics of Inhabitance and the Right to the City in Urban Peru." City and Society. Vol. 33. No 1. https://doi.org/10.1111/ciso.12392
ABSTRACT: The protagonist of Lefebvre’s “Right to the City” is the citaden, a citizen‐denizen whose rights are produced through residency and incumbent contributions to everyday urban life. Yet, in the shantytowns of Lima where people have long believed that residency generates rights, what it means to “do residency” (hacer vivencia) is itself contested. Drawing on twenty‐one months of fieldwork in the Limeño shantytown of Pachacútec, Peru, I show that “inhabitance” is a multidimensional construct and that the relationship between inhabitance and rights to spatial appropriation and political participation is a primary source of conflict, generating questions about community belonging, democratic representation, and the moral status of property transfers. Far from neatly resolving the inequalities generated by capitalist property relations, this case demonstrates that Lefebvre’s “right to the city” entails many of its own questions: What actions constitute residency? Do people have differential rights based on differential contributions to community life? And can rights to space be earned, leading to tenure security, or must they always be actively performed? As Peruvians answer these questions in the course of building their cities and their lives, they illuminate the ambiguities and challenges inherent in realizing the “right to the city” in Latin America's urban peripheries.
Skrabut, K. 2019. “Documents, Law & the State in the Andes.” The Andean World. Linda Seligmann & Kathleen Fine-Dare, editors. Routledge. Pg 524-538.
ABSTRACT: This chapter situates the rise of e-governance and digital identity documents in Peru by exploring the diverse, powerful, and contradictory ways documents intervene in Peruvians’ everyday lives. After describing the historical role of documents in the Andes as materializations of law and “the state,” the chapter follows the story of a single illicit land takeover in one of Lima’s shantytowns to demonstrate the double-edged nature of official inscription, the role of documents in constituting citizenship and the slippery reality of “the state,” and the ambivalent identities and relationships that are forged around documentary use. The chapter concludes by considering how these longstanding documentary dynamics are reproduced through the rollout of e-governance and digital identity cards, as well as how these new technologies of statecraft might be remaking state-society relationships.
Skrabut, K. 2018. “Residency Counts and Housing Rights: Conflicting Enactments of Property in Lima’s Central Margins.” Current Anthropology. Vol. 59. No.6. Pg 691-715. DOI: 10.1086/700758
ABSTRACT: In a shantytown in Lima, who counts as a resident depends on who is counting. Drawing on 21 months of ethnographic fieldwork in a Peruvian “self-help” housing community, I show how censuses and surveys are woven into residency determinations and negotiations over property rights. In these contexts, “residency” is not a self-evident status but rather a complex performance that involves possessing the right kind of need, participating in development activities, accumulating documents, and being legible to myriad political and personalistic “state-like” entities. Meanwhile, conflicts over inadequate residency performances generate violence, insecurity, and confusion about who “the community” is and who is entitled to represent it. I argue that viewing residency as a contested performance that mediates and remakes long-standing inequalities can improve anthropological interpretations of the sprawling and pockmarked cities of the Global South and the dynamics of urban citizenship that produce them.
Skrabut, K. 2018. Housing the Contingent Life Course: Aspiration and Extreme Poverty in Peruvian Shantytowns. City and Society. Vol. 30. No. 1. Pg 1-26. DOI: 10.1111/ciso.12145
ABSTRACT: Peru’s urban peripheries have long been shaped by the intertwining of urban development policies with Peruvians’ domestic aspirations. Since the 1960s, different formulations of progressive and self-help housing policies have relied on and reproduced a domestic life course model in which Peruvians’ inexorable progress through the “domestic cycle” is mirrored in the steady transformation of their precarious, unconsolidated shantytown homes into “noble” (modern; concrete) constructions in fully urbanized neighborhoods. While shantytowns partially reflect this predictable life course temporality, they are also shaped by future imaginings and contingent time. People use shantytowns to fulfill ideals of adulthood, autonomy, and success, but also to hedge their bets, retreating from some relations while striving to forge new ones. Drawing on twenty-one months of fieldwork in Peruvian shantytowns, this article examines informal urban development from a contingent life course perspective to demonstrate how Peru’s urban peripheries are embedded in and shaped by Peruvians’ efforts to pursue domestic life projects while managing fluctuating kin relations and preparing for uncertain futures.
Skrabut, K. 2013. “Recognizing (Dis)Order: Topographies of Power and Property in Lima’s Periphery.” Chapter 9 in The Housing Question: Tensions, Continuities and Contingencies in the Modern City. Edward Murphy and Najib Hourani, editors. Ashgate. Pg 183-198.
Skrabut, K. 2010. “Recount! The Social Life of the Peruvian Census.” Anthropology News. Vol 51: 5.13-15