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This paper explores how, in the Buenos Aires of neoliberalism, middle-class residents strove to make sense of their own impoverishment and their disenfranchisement by generating a consensus on how this city’s modernity was being eroded by the presence of a large mestizo lower class. Through an analysis of the discourse that constructed the urban poor as “barbaric” (i.e., dangerous, polluting, and foreign), I suggest that this representation not only sought to reinforce the fading social difference between the middle- and the lower class, but it also contributed to denying the latter its citizenship in a Buenos Aires that struggled to be “modern”.


Author accepted manuscript version of an article published by Wiley in

Guano, Emanuela. 2004. “The Denial of Citizenship: ‘Barbaric’ Buenos Aires and the Middle-Class Imaginary.” City & Society 16 (1): 69–97.

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