Abstract

The expansionist mode of neoliberal urbanization relies on a subtractive logic that renders lives, habitats, and rhythms along its path as both expendable and profitable. This essay uses the conceptual lens of “passages” to read how urban entities, those rendered “expendable,” seep back in through different urban passages and “play” the game of urbanization. These passages are not given, but constellated by drawing disparate urban entities into a relationship. In them, urban entities, although deemed expendable, are in medias res and incomplete; they are the mediums in which life takes form; and they have the “abilities” to take on many forms. The essay thus departs from the demographic and territorial notions of “what is urban,” to explore the urban as a constitutive medium composed of numerous passages. It asks, What is at play in them? What life forms in passing? And how might we conceive of Walter Benjamin's Passagen-Werk down South?

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