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Carolin Loysa

profil carolyn

Freie Universität Berlin

ZI Lateinamerika-Institut

Wissenschaftliche/r Mitarbeiter/in


Rüdesheimer Straße 54-56
14197 Berlin

Wissenschaftlicher Werdegang

Seit 6/2019 Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin am Lateinamerika-Institut der FU Berlin

12/2014 – 12/2018

Doktorandin am Internationalen Graduiertenkolleg „Zwischen Räumen“

12/2016 – 5/2017

Feldforschung in Puebla, Mexiko (zu Shopping-Malls in Mexiko)

10/2010 - 5/2013

Masterstudium der Interdisziplinären Lateinamerikastudien am Lateinamerika-Institut der Freien Universität Berlin. Thema der Abschlussarbeit Die mall als zentraler öffentlicher Treffpunkt. Entstehung neuer sozialräumlicher Praktiken im und um das centro comercial Angelópolis in Puebla, Mexiko

08-09/2011 & 03-05/2012

Feldforschung in Puebla, Mexiko (zu Shopping-Malls in Mexiko)

10/2006 - 9/2010

Bachelorstudium der Spanischen Philologie mit Lateinamerikanistik und Portugiesisch-Brasilianischen Studien an der Freien Universität Berlin. Thema der Abschlussarbeit Die Rolle Mexiko-Stadts in der kontemporären Literatur Lateinamerikas. Bedeutung und Darstellung des urbanen Raums in La otra cara de Rock Hudson und Los detectives salvajes


Praktikum am Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia in Puebla, Mexiko. Feldforschung in Sanbuenaventura Nealtican


Feldforschung in Brasilien (zum Thema Repräsentation und kulturelles Erbe deutschstämmiger MigrantInnen in Timbó, Santa Catarina)


Praktikum am Ethnologischen Museum Berlin (Vorbereitung Dauerausstellung südamerikanisches Tiefland in Zusammenarbeit mit Dr. Haas)

Thematische Schwerpunkte

    • Stadtforschung / Urbane Anthropologie
    • Raumforschung
    • Soziale Ungleichheiten
    • Konsum
    • Globalisierung

Regionaler Schwerpunkt

  • Mexiko


Betreut von Prof. Dr. Ingrid Kummels

The Precarity of Progress: Class, Race and the Socio-cultural Impacts of the Mallification of Puebla

The definition of the term mallification found in online dictionaries is ’transformation into a (shopping) mall’. This reference alludes to a specific form of urbanization that describes a city whose mode of governance, social structure, and spatial development express the neoliberal vision of a free market utopia, implementing the mall as anchor. As I argue, the Angelópolis mall in Puebla is an outstanding example. The private interests of the Sordo Madaleno Group who initiated this first type of joint venture between some of the most important investors of the private sector, were integrated in a more extensive project with pretentious implications: the intention to develop a new urban area. Therefore, they negotiated with the government of Puebla for territory which, just one year before this, had been transferred from federal to state government, and antecedently, another year before that, had been expropriated from various surrounding municipalities. Consequently, and new till that moment, the federal and state government played an important role in the promotion of the area. With the mall as representative, that also provides the name for the new installations there, this area – la zona Angelópolis– nowadays is comprised of federal buildings, private universities, gated communities and other prestigious new urban landmarks. Further, today, it constitutes the geographical and symbolic center of the newly implemented Metropolitan region, an implemented administrative unit that goes beyond the boundaries of the city.

This peculiar condition concerning the mall, and the city, were important in the development of this study which started evolving around the question does, or rather, how does the Angelópolis mall in Puebla evoke new forms of social differentiation? Consequently, my research was led by the question: How is the Angelópolis mall as central space for urban life in Puebla used and appropriated to (re)negotiate forms of social differentiation? The research interest beneath evolves around the question what the everyday realities of the upper middle classes of the city – who likewise constitute the mall as their space, and also function as target-group for the mall – can tell us about processes and negotiations of social distinction. Thereby, in more general terms, through the mall, constituted as a form of representational microcosm, I seek to understand the correlation between neoliberal urban growth, the proliferation of consumption as central practice in its different and varied forms this entails, and how this interplay may influence the way actors affiliate or differentiate themselves from one another. More concretely, I intend to make a contribution to the debates surrounding the Latin American middle classes who are often presented as indicator for economic and urban growth, and demonstrate the historically fomented disparities between these groups. I intend to analyze class distinctions and the way ‘race’ as distinguishing feature is articulated in these negotiations; in order to see how capitalist structures and colonial discourses interact. Therefore, in terms of hypothesis, I argue that the implementation of the mall in Puebla, and its gained prestige and peculiar condition as starting point for the urban reconfiguration, transformed and/ or reinforced practices and discourses regarding social status in the city. Thus, I argue that an ethnography of and in the mall –in the everyday discourses promoted as ‘bringer of progress’ – allows for the understanding of how social processes and material structures can be mutually enacting in times of neoliberal hegemony in Latin America.

Beiträge in Zeitschriften

Januar 2019: “Giros espacio-temporales: Repensando los entrelazamientos globales desde América Latina” (Hrsg.), Edición Tranvía, Berlin.

Januar 2019: “Theoryoftheathleisureclass– On sportswear and the displaying of distinction in a Mexican mall”, in: Girosespacio-temporales: RepensandolosentrelazamientosglobalesdesdeAméricaLatina, Edición Tranvía, Berlin, S. 79-102.

Loysa, Carolin (2015), „Of food courts and other demons: shopping malls in Mexico as new centers for urban life", in: Revista Iluminuras v. 16, n. 37, S. 32-43.