Valeria Procupez

Valeria Procupez

Lecturer

Mergenthaler 456
Tuesdays 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., and by appointment
valeria@jhu.edu

My main line of work has involved long-term research and engagement with urban social movements in Buenos Aires, which are inserted in and collaborate with wide Latin American networks of urban politics. I am particularly interested in how the encompassing principles of horizontalism and autonomy shape the intricacies of participants' daily lives.

My main line of work has involved long-term research and engagement with urban social movements in Buenos Aires, which are inserted in and collaborate with wide Latin American networks of urban politics. I am particularly interested in how the encompassing principles of horizontalism and autonomy shape the intricacies of participants' daily lives.

I have studied the mobilization of migrant squatters to secure adequate housing in the city through the generation of collectivities and communities, as well as the effects these practices have had on their conceptions of the person, the family, the home and the domestic. My book manuscript "The Work of Dwelling" is based on this project. 

My research is framed within the broader perspective of the social production of habitat, which entails looking  beyond the functions of the state and the market in the production of the urban environment, and paying attention to the ways in which urban dwellers contribute to the creation of the city, not only in its material aspects but also (and crucially) in how it is used, lived and imagined. This perspective is profoundly inspired by Henri Lefebvre's theory of the social production of urban space, and his notion of "right to the city."

I am currently finalizing a research project in collaboration with colleagues from urban studies at University of Buenos Aires and a local grassroots collective (Colectivo de Hábitat) about the results of an innovative housing program based on legislation designed and promoted by local social movements. The project was funded by a Seed Grant from the Johns Hopkins 21t Century Cities Initiative, and it involved the study of six low-income limited equity housing cooperatives in Buenos Aires (a total of around 600 families) from both longitudinal and comparative perspectives. We focused on the study of participatory channels for the residents, that have allowed them to become involved in the production of  their own housing through the tool of collective self-management, which is not only cost and labor efficient but also supports collectivity and generates an alternative, more inclusive kind of city.  In this project, I am exploring the notion of "urban commons" to reflect on the non-speculative and de-commodified use of urban resources, and the recognition of the social character of the production of the city as a common good

Articles based on this research are forthcoming.

Teaching Interests

Urban citizenship, cities and public space, housing policies, real estate markets, the effects of social policy on subjectivity, notions of home, US cities, Latin American cities, locality, informality and informal settlements.

Courses taught at JHU (undergraduate and graduate):

  • Urban Ecologies
  • Anthropology of Space and Place
  • Home and Belonging
  • Urban Citizenship in Latin America
  • Housing Matters
  • The Dilemma of Public Space
  • Slumworld: Life in Informal Settlements
  • Cityness: Anthropology of the Urban Experience
  • Latin American Cities
  • Anthropological Methods

Valeria Procupez, "The Perfect Storm: Heat Waves and Power Outages in Buenos Aires." Public Culture May 2016; 28 (2 (79): 351–357. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/08992363-3427475

Valeria Procupez, "The Need for Patience: The Politics of Housing Emergency in Buenos Aires," Current Anthropology 56, no. S11 (October 2015): S55-S65.

https://doi.org/10.1086/682240

Valeria Procupez, "Inhabiting the Temporary: Patience and Uncertainty among Urban Squatters in Buenos Aires" in High, C., Kelly, A., Mair, J. (eds.) 2012. The Anthropology of Ignorance: An Ethnographic Approach. New York & Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Valeria Procupez (2008) "Beyond Home: Forging the Domestic in Shared Housing," Home Cultures, 5:3,327-348, DOI: 10.2752/174063108X368346

Valeria Procupez and Carla Rodríguez, "Bringing it All Back Home: Homelessness and Alternative Housing Policies among Urban Squatters in Buenos Aires, Argentina" in Polakow, V. and Guillean, C. (eds.) International Perspectives on Homelessness, 2001, Greenwood Press.

Accepted for publication:

Valeria Procupez, "La Centralidad Autogestionada."  Revista Quid 16, Instituto de Investigaciones Gino Germani, University of Buenos Aires (upcoming in December 2019)

Valeria Procupez and María Carla Rodríguez, "Self-Managed Urbanism in Buenos Aires: Community-sponsored policy countering urban displacement."

NACLA Report on the Americas, Special Issue on "Radical Cities" (upcoming in December 2019)