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Urban informality and confinement: Toward a relational framework

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Silvia Pasquetti



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


In the 21st century, a growing number of people live ‘informal’ lives within fissures between legality and informality. Concomitantly, power relations are increasingly expressed through devices of confinement. While urban informality and confinement are on the rise often occurring simultaneously, scholars have so far studied them separately. By contrast, this article proposes a new framework for analysing urban informality and confinement relationally. It generates new insights into the role of informality in the (re)production of confinement and, vice versa, the role of confinement in shaping informal practices. While these insights are valuable for urban studies in general, the article charts new lines of research on urban marginality. It also discusses how the six articles included in this special issue signal the heuristic potential of this relational framework by empirically examining distinct urban configurations of ‘confined informalities’ and ‘informal confinements’ across the Global North and the Global South.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Pasquetti S, Picker G

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Sociology

Year: 2017

Volume: 32

Issue: 4

Pages: 532-544

Print publication date: 01/07/2017

Online publication date: 21/04/2017

Acceptance date: 20/02/2017

Date deposited: 19/06/2017

ISSN (print): 0268-5809

ISSN (electronic): 1461-7242

Publisher: Sage


DOI: 10.1177/0268580917701605


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Funder referenceFunder name
European Union’s Horizon 2020
Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 661646.