Moisés KopperJul 19, 2023
Architectures of Hope
Infrastructural Citizenship and Class Mobility in Brazil's Public Housing
University of Michigan Press 2022
Moisés Kopper's Architectures of Hope: Infrastructural Citizenship and Class Mobility in Brazil's Public Housing (U Michigan Press, 2022) examines how communal idealism, electoral politics, and low-income consumer markets made first-time homeownership a reality for millions of low-income Brazilians over the last ten years.
Drawing on a five-year-long ethnography among city planners, architects, street-level bureaucrats, politicians, market and bank representatives, community leaders, and past, present, and future beneficiaries, Moisés Kopper tells the story of how a group of grassroots housing activists rose from oblivion to build a model community. He explores the strategies set forth by housing activists as they waited and hoped for—and eventually secured—homeownership through Minha Casa Minha Vida’s public-private infrastructure. By showing how these efforts coalesced in Porto Alegre—Brazil’s once progressive hotspot—he interrogates the value systems and novel arrangements of power and market that underlie the country’s post-neoliberal project of modern and inclusive development.
By chronicling the making and remaking of material hope in the aftermath of Minha Casa Minha Vida, Architectures of Hope reopens the future as a powerful venue for ethnographic inquiry and urban development.
Moisés Kopper is Research Professor at the Institute of Development Policy, University of Antwerp.
Alize Arıcan is a Society of Fellows Postdoctoral Scholar at Boston University and an incoming Assistant Professor of Anthropology at CUNY—City College, focusing on urban life, futurity, care, and migration. You can find her on Twitter @alizearican.