Urban Poverty, Spatial Representation and Mobility: Touring a Slum in Mexico


This article draws attention to a controversial activity in poor urban neighborhoods. Slum tourism is a growing business worldwide and simultaneously it is a new form of encounter between the global South and the global North. Following the new mobilities paradigm, I investigate a particular form of slum tourism, which intertwines urban poverty and charity, representation and powerful imaginaries, tourist mobility and transnational lifestyles. This is the case in Mazatlán, Mexico, where a multidenominational church offers regular tours to the city’s garbage dump. I scrutinize the various modes of (im)mobilities and their implications for peoples and places, interconnecting spheres which are conceived of as separate. In conclusion, I outline the ambiguous effects when marginalized spaces become integral parts of the urban representation.