The Patchwork CityClass, Space, and Politics in Metro Manila

The Patchwork CityClass, Space, and Politics in Metro Manila

Marco Z. Garrido

Print publication date: 2020

ISBN: 9780226643007

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


The title of the book, The Patchwork City, refers to the fragmentation of Manila into a “patchwork” of classed spaces, particularly slums and upper- and middle-class enclaves. The book is not just about urban fragmentation, however, but about its effects on class relations and politics. It argues that the proliferation of slums and enclaves and their subsequent proximity have intensified class relations. Class boundaries clarify along the housing divide and the urban poor and middle class emerge as class actors—not as labor and capital but as squatters and “villagers” (in Manila residential subdivisions are called villages). The first part of the book traces the emergence of class identities defined by experiences of spatial discrimination and siege. The second part shows these identities to be politically consequential. They shape the political thinking of the urban poor and middle class and help account for dissensus over the populist president Joseph Estrada. The book does not just tell us something new about segregation, class relations, and democracy, it shows these things to be connected. It spells out how they are connected, and thus helps us make similar connections in other cases. It makes clear, ultimately, that class as a social structure is as indispensable to the study of Manila—and of many other Global South cities—as race is to the study of American cities. In scope and approach, The Patchwork City expands the boundaries of both urban and political sociology.