Based on life‐stories, in‐depth interviews and informal conversations, this article focuses on the lived experiences of the inhabitants of a slum in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The first part of the article explores the political‐economic context of deepening marginalization of the slum population in contemporary Argentina, paying special attention to the mutually reinforcing processes of massification of under‐ and unemployment, impoverishment and state retrenchment. The second part of the article analyses the impact of such increasing marginalization on the lived experiences of slum‐dwellers in Villa Paraiso. In particular, it focuses on (a) the dominant antagonisms that divide the residents of this destitute neighbourhood; and (b) the feeling of social isolation and abandonment that pervades much of the reality of slum‐dwellers. The article finds some experiential similarities between slum‐dwellers in Argentina and residents of other enclaves of urban poverty in advanced societies.