I hope all is well as we turn in grades, restore some calm to our lives, and take time to enjoy the summer. We have awarded travel grants to five graduate students. We chose those who are on the market as a key criterion. Congratulations to Kurt Kuehne (UW, Madison), Melanie Brazzell (UC, Santa Barbara, Nathalie Rita (U Hawaii, Manoa), Andrew Messamore (UT, Austin), and Samuel Dinger (NYU). ASA notified me that our business meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, August 9th at 3:00 pm. This is not ideal for good attendance, so we will have the meeting then, but we will distribute the awards at the reception (Sunday, August 7th at 6:30 pm). Finally, please vote in the ASA election! May 27th is the last day to vote.
The book’s argument is that the spatial transformation of Manila is worsening class relations and widening the political divide. Specifically, I document the proliferation of poor and upper-class areas—slums and enclaves—across the city and their sharper segregation. I then describe the fraught relations between the residents of these places and argue that segregation—specifically, their proximity to one another—has made their relations worse. Slum residents more frequently experience discrimination, while enclave residents feel insecure about the presence of squatters nearby. I then consider the political views of each group, particularly with respect to the populist president Joseph Estrada. Not only do they tend to see Estrada in polar opposite ways, but their views are substantially informed by their feelings of discrimination and insecurity—that is, by their class positions. Broadly speaking, the books’ argument represents an effort to connect space, class, and politics, or rather, to show how these domains are more continuous than we like to think. Indeed, we should think about them together, as bound up in the same processes. And so while The Patchwork City is a work of urban sociology, it is also, equally, a work of political sociology. It adopts a view of social class as taking shape through spatial segregation (as well as shaping it, of course), and of political subjectivity as being shaped by class relations. Thus, as the city is transformed by global processes, so are social relations and contentious politics.