Counterhegemonic Spaces

Co-conveners: Gabriella Stephany (Pontifical Catholic University Belo Horizonte), Tulio Colombo Corrêa (EAD-UFMG), Mateus Augusto da Conceição Carneiro (Instituto Metodista Izabela Hendrix)


The main interest of this working group is to bring “capitalism based on catastrophe, devastation and profit” to a discussion of the environment and the production of space. The intention of this necessary interweaving is to broadly discuss environmental, political, and urban crisis, sharing the Brazilian reality with the others present, based on an analysis that situates neoliberalism as a political project imposed on the territories.

We understand transdisciplinarity as an essential condition for a deeper understanding of reality, with deep intersections with issues such as “de facto and de jure segregation”, “flows (of bodies of water, poetry, capital)” and “the racialization of space and spatialization of race,” as we examine structural issues in the country.

This working group emerges from the work of the Viela Group, which was born from the desire of six urban planners to exercise the profession in a critical way, situating the technical advisory character as a compass for our discussions. We are six LGBTQI+ people who reflect on race, gender, and sexuality in territorial practices on a daily basis. It is important to note that our work brings intersectionality between culture and territory, which, for us, is plural, in the sense of establishing actions and intrinsic relations between territory-body, territory-geography, territory-psyche, territory-history: territorialities.

By culture we mean customs and all the relationships observed in a social group that are the result of the environment and produced by inheritances and present choices, understanding that everything may be re-signified / reconstructed and that the processes of subjectification in society are in constant dispute. The discussion about the production of space comes from the understanding that territory (and here we are referring to a geographical discussion) is simultaneously material and social and composed of a dialectic, like geographical space. The territory-form is the material space and the used territory is the material space plus the social space. The territory used is constituted by the formal territory – the geographic space of the State – and its use, appropriation, production, and organization by the different agents that compose it: the firms, the institutions – including the State itself – and the people. The inevitable intersection between these two concepts, territory and culture, leads us to the discussion about the production of space that forms the basis of the discussions of this project.

Description of spaces:

The working group will consist of discussing the effects of neoliberal and neocolonial politics in the Americas, as well as sharpening views on counter-hegemonic narratives that dispute the multiple territories and territorialities present in the intersections between the right to the city, the environment, and the production of space.

Firstly, we will collectively interpret the conjuncture and consequences of the neoliberal project on the production of space in the Americas, tracing its relationship with a process of neocolonization. Examples will be analyzed in order to build a collective understanding of the background of our discussions.

Secondly, we will talk about counter-hegemonic territories and narratives (thinking of territory and territoriality broadly), the production of temporary, permanent, formal, and  informal spaces, and many other characteristics. We will ask participants to bring examples of actions that produce counter-hegemonic spaces based on our conversation and the readings sent by email.

Thirdly, we will make a joint analysis of the examples, considering their socio-political-spatial constructions, and how they contradict the current logic of the neoliberal-neocolonial project. From this discussion, we expect to extract notes for public policies in particular cities as well as notes for other formal or informal, daily social-political-economic relations.

At the end of the working group, we will ask participants to send us an email with the reports, essays, photos, and other documentation they presented during the working group (with the possibility of expanding the content), so we may produce a scientific article based on our discussions and experience.There is also the possibility of proposing an expanded publication, possibly a book with working group participants as authors.

Application: To apply to this working group, please complete the general application here.