Marginality, Again?!


This essay critically engages with the book Urban Outcasts — A Comparative Sociology of Advanced Marginality by Loïc Wacquant. In this book, studying poor neighborhoods in the United States and France in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Wacquant argues that a new socio‐economic configuration marked by dualization and polarization of the city and of the class structure has been formed in these metropolises as a result of structural shifts resulting from the breakdown of the Fordist regime and the recoiling of the welfare state. He calls ‘advanced marginality’ the new regime marked by a new form of urban poverty that makes part of the working classes ‘redundant’. This essay highlights the similarities between Wacquant’s arguments and those of the theory of marginality of the 1960s and 1970s, which has been criticized and abandoned in Latin America. It also interrogates Wacquant’s argument that advanced marginality is what will represent the future of metropolises everywhere, by introducing the case of Brazilian peripheries and asking questions about the increase of violence in poor neighborhoods.