Spatial Division, Bricolage Settlement, and Informal Economies in the Developing-World Slum Novel

  • Michael K. Walonen
Part of the New Comparisons in World Literature book series (NCWL)


The near future of the human race lies in the slums of the Global South. We have reached the point where for the first time in the history of humanity the majority of the world’s population resides in cities (Davis, Planet of Slums 1) and an ever ballooning demographic chunk of these urbanites inhabits the tenuous ramshackle shantytowns — favelas — and slum tenements of the developing world: over one in six human beings on the planet today, a number which is projected to rise to one in four, or two billion total people, in 2030 (Neuwirth, Shadow Cities 9). Urbanization of population is a trend intrinsic to industrial society, and in the developing world this trend can in many cases be dated back initially to the founding of what would become the larger cities of the developing world as trading depots during the colonial era. During the early postwar period of decolonization the lifting of colonial restrictions on internal migration and the promise of greater cosmopolitanism/ modernity and economic opportunities drew increasing numbers of former colonial subjects from the countryside to the city. But while this trend thus predates the inception of neoliberalism, it has been frenetically intensified by free market policies and the socio-economic shifts they have inaugurated. Among the contributing factors to this intensification have been the outsourcing of production of consumer goods to developing-world, urban, manufacturing zones, as well as the multinational corporate takeover of agribusiness and the lowering of protective tariffs on agricultural products (generally in a manner forced by International Monetary Fund structural adjustment programs), both of which have pushed small farmers out of the market and into swelling urban slums.


Urban Planner Slum Dweller Spatial Division Hunger Strike Chemical Spill 
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Copyright information

© Michael Walonen 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael K. Walonen
    • 1
  1. 1.Bethune-Cookman UniversityUSA

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