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June 09 , 2008

Cities, Business, and the Politics of Urban Violence in Latin America


This book analyzes and explains the ways in which major developing world cities respond to the challenge of urban violence. The study shows how the political projects that cities launch to confront urban violence are shaped by the interaction between urban political economies and patterns of armed territorial control. It introduces business as a pivotal actor in the politics of urban violence, and argues that how business is organized within cities and its linkages to local governments impacts whether or not business supports or subverts state efforts to stem and prevent urban violence. A focus on city mayors finds that the degree to which politicians rely upon clientelism to secure and maintain power influences whether they favor responses to violence that perpetuate or weaken local political exclusion. The book builds a new typology of patterns of armed territorial control within cities, and shows that each poses unique challenges and opportunities for confronting urban violence. The study develops sub-national comparative analyses of puzzling variation in the institutional outcomes of the politics of urban violence across Colombia's three principal cities—Medellin, Cali, and Bogota—and over time within each. The book's main findings contribute to research on violence, crime, citizen security, urban development, and comparative political economy. The analysis demonstrates that the politics of urban violence is a powerful new lens on the broader question of who governs in major developing world cities.

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