Literatures of urban development: World bank literature and the chronicles of Rio de Janeiro and Mexico City Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Knierim, Sean Paul
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of English and Comparative Literature
  • Contextualized within the setting of urban development, this dissertation considers contemporary manifestations of international development policy alongside the work of chroniclers in Latin America. Specifically, this project studies the World Bank's involvement in Mexico City and Rio de Janeiro over the last thirty years in relation to chronicles--literary-journalistic writings distributed primarily through newspapers and magazines--written in and about these two cities. Examining documents produced by the World Bank's staff alongside the work of chroniclers residing in these cities provides an informed locale from which to analyze the World Bank's approach to issues confronting the urban spaces within Latin America. This project also argues that a common genre of the chronicle exists in these two cities, regardless of the language in which it is written. The first chapter contextualizes the project within a history of the World Bank and the genre of the chronicle in Mexico and Brazil. The second chapter focuses on Mexico, studying the chronicles of Elena Poniatowska and Carlos Monsiváis along side the work of the World Bank as they respond to the earthquake of 1985 in Mexico City. The third chapter considers urban poverty in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro and pulls from the writings of Carlos Drummond de Andrade, Luis Fernando Veríssimo, Affonso Romano de Sant'Anna, Marina Colasanti and Diogo Mainardi. The fourth chapter examines public transportation in Mexico City as well as the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, pulling from chronicles by Carlos Monsiváis and Diogo Mainardi. I argue that the World Bank must approach its lending decisions with a nuanced understanding of whom its loans and projects will affect. When designing projects with such cultural and social knowledge, the priorities addressed by World Bank align closely with the concerns forwarded by the chroniclers considered in this study. Moreover, this approach to project design and implementation enables the World Bank to honor its stated mission of "using [its] financial resources, staff and extensive experience to help developing countries reduce poverty, increase economic growth and improve their quality of life" (World Bank Group Brochure 3).
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  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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