Studies in National and International Development


National and International Development

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"Critical Urban Studies in Development"

Charmain Levy

Professor, International Development, University of Outaouais


Urbanization is a critical feature of the transition from traditional agrarian to modern industrial society. One in three urban residents around the world lives below the poverty line. South Asia features the largest share of urban poor, followed by East Asia, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. This presentation explores why and how critical urban studies is central to IDS and fleshes out both structure and agency in the production and reproduction of urban centres in the South. It especially analyses the concept of urban governance, actors such as urban social movements and the pertinence of feminist perspectives on urban structure and policy. Finally, it highlights the case study of the slum dwellers’ movement in downtown Sao Paulo beginning at the end of the 1990s and the role of women leaders in this movement.

Charmain Levy

About the speaker: Charmain Levy, PhD and DEA in Anthropology and Sociology of Politics (2000) from the University of Paris VIII, Masters at the University of Paris III in sociology with a specialization in Latin American Studies; and Hon. BA at York University in political science (international relations and comparative politics). She is a Professor at the University of Outaouais since 2005, teaching International Development; and a specialist in Latin America, particularly Brazil; social movements, religion and development; and urban and development studies. She is also a researcher of the Chaire Nycole Turmel sur les espaces publics et les innovations politiques–UQAM; Associate Researcher of the Observatory on regional development and differentiated analysis according to sex; member of the Quebec University network on training, research, and intervention in Brazil; former president of the Canadian Association of Studies in International Development; and editorial director of the Development and Globalization Collection at the University of Ottawa Presses. She co‐authored numerous articles and book chapters on social movements in Brazil.