Feminist Lefebvre? Understanding Urbanization Through the Global Intimate

Adriana de La Peña Espinosa New Publication, Uncategorized feminist geography

A new article from IUR postdoctoral researcher Claudia Fonseca is now out in ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies. Titled Feminist Lefebvre? Understanding Urbanization Through the Global Intimate, the piece was part of the Themed Section – From the Margins Within (Guest Ed. Aparna Parikh).


This article follows the life story of Lety, an ex-maquiladora worker from the village of El Refugio in Yucatán, the south of Mexico, from the 1980s until the present in a “global intimate” account. Against the background of two cycles of capital accumulation (i.e., henequen fiber production and a maquiladora chapter), the cross-scalar and historical examination I offer here relies on discourse analysis of governmental reports and state development plans as well as ethnographic research. Operationalizing a feminist-Lefebvrean toolkit, I reflect on how the concepts of abstract space, everyday life, and differential space are challenged or complemented by the global intimate. Through this, the paper explores how the fabric of capitalist urbanization unfolded in the everyday: how it was created, re-created, and challenged. Three main things are highlighted in this analysis: (1) how the space of capitalism was produced at the intersection of materiality, discourse, and lived experience; (2) the contradictions that arise between abstract space and everyday life; and (3) the potentialities of what I refer to as intimate spaces of difference. I conclude with a discussion of how the space of capitalism was challenged by Lety through these intimate spaces of difference, reflecting on the importance of building more theoretical bridges between critical urban theory and feminist scholarship.