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Paradoxes of modernity: imperial Rio de Janeiro

Martins, Luciana and Abreu, M.A. (2001) Paradoxes of modernity: imperial Rio de Janeiro. Geoforum 32 (4), pp. 533-550. ISSN 0016-7185.

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This paper examines the spatial dynamics of urbanism in Rio de Janeiro during the early nineteenth century. Conventional narratives of modernisation fail to capture the complexities of this moment, between 1808 and 1821, when the city replaced Lisbon as the capital of the Portuguese empire. The position of colony and metropolis were inverted, Portuguese absolutism was bolstered by British liberalism, and a market-economy arose alongside the expansion of slavery. As the newly-created imperial capital, Rio felt the effects of these various transformations: the physical boundaries of the city rapidly expanded, its economy diversified and the cultural life of the city was re-shaped. Our aim in this paper is to understand this particular moment of urban transformation as a product of the intersection of global networks of trade, slavery and industrial capitalism. Rather than depicting the historical geography of the city as a passive space for European conquest and expansion, we consider the extent to which its urban dynamics were shaped by a distinct local geography of globalisation. In particular, we examine the interrelated spatialities that are part and parcel of the modernising process.

Item Type: Article
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Globalisation, modernity, Rio de Janeiro, world cities, historical geography
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Arts > Cultures and Languages
Depositing User: Luciana Martins
Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2011 12:27
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2014 10:55

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