In 1957, José Matos Mar carried out the first systematic study of Lima's barriadas in an attempt to shed light on what was then the fastest growing but most poorly understood form of urbanization in the city. After his work, many other social scientists became interested in the barriadas, noticing that one of the consequences of this form of urban expansion is that life in Lima has grown fragmented, increasingly transpiring within well-delimited coordinates of class and race that rarely overlap. This chapter explores the social and political context of late 1990s and early 2000s Lima, the period before and after the downfall of Alberto Fujimori's regime, when Mayor Alberto Andrade's impulse to order and cleanse the city center coexisted with unprecedented central government corruption. Building on the work of Georges Bataille, the author examines the relation between taboo and transgression, and also reflects on her return to her native city of Lima by citing the work of Peruvian novelist and anthropologist José María Arguedas.
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