Dr. Carolin Loysa
Freie Universität Berlin
Kulturanthropologie / Altamerikanistik
appointment via e-Mail
Scientific Assistant in Cultural and Social Anthropology (Altamerikanistik) at the Institute for Latin American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin
Doctorate in Social and Cultural Anthropology (summa cum laude)
Title: The Precarity of Progress: Class, Race, and the Mallification of Puebla, Mexico
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Ingrid Kummels, Prof. Dr. Carlos Alba Vega
Doctoral student in Cultural and Social Anthropology (Altamerikanistik) at the Institute for Latin American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin
MA Thesis in Interdisciplinary Latin American Studies
Title: The mall as central public meeting point. The emergence of new socio-spatial practices at the centro comercial Angelópolis in Puebla, Mexico
Master Studies in Interdisciplinary Latin American Studies at the Institute for Latin American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin
(BA) Thesis in Spanish Philology
Title: The role of Mexico City in contemporary Latin American literature: Significance and representation of the urban space in La otra cara de Rock Hudson and Los detectives salvajes
Bachelor Studies in Spanish Philology with Latin American Studies and Portuguese-Brazilian Studies at the Institute of Romance Languages and Literatures, Freie Universität Berlin
Abitur at the Gymnasium Westerstede Europaschule
Qualification Scholarship at the International Research Training Group “Between Spaces”: Movements, Actors and Representations of Globalisation, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG)
PhD fellow at the International Research Training Group “Between Spaces”: Movements, Actors and Representations of Globalisation, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG)
Academic activities / organisation of conferences
Editor at CROLAR
Spokesperson of the PhD candidates at the International Research Training Group “Between Spaces”: Movements, Actors and Representations of Globalisation
17th International AHILA Congress in Berlin organized by the International Research Training Group “Between Spaces”: Movements, Actors and Representations of Globalisation
European- indigenous Trans/Mission: Translation Strategies in Colonial Latin America’ at the Institute for Latin American Studies
National Institute of Anthropology and History in Puebla, Mexico
Ethnological Museum of Berlin (preparation for permanent display on South American lowlands)
WiSe 2019, 2020 & 2021: Interdisziplinäre Lateinamerikastudien
WiSe 2020: Talking about class and race. Ethnographische Perspektiven auf soziale Ungleichheiten in Lateinamerika
WiSe 2021 & 2023: Theorien und Methoden der Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie
SoSe 2020, 2021, 2022 & 2023: Urbane Anthropologie
Current Research Project
The value of San Charbel: Lebaneseness between Mexico and Phoenecia
Research Areas and Interests
- Urban Studies
- Decolonial I Queer-feminist epistemologies
- Intersectional inequalities
- Critical Whiteness Studies
- Political Cultures
- Mexico I Lebanon
Completed Doctoral Project
The Precarity of Progress.
Class, Race, and the Mallification of Puebla, Mexico
Supervisors: Univ.-Prof. Dr. phil. Ingrid Kummels, Univ.-Prof. Dr. Carlos Alba Vega (El Colegio de Mexico)
The dissertation explores the everyday practices of the upper middle classes in one of Mexico’s most emblematic shopping malls, located in the city of Puebla. The Angelópolis mall is embedded in an extensive urbanization project that was endorsed by the local and federal government and served as a structuring element for the spatial reconfiguration of the city, which arguably enhanced social urban fragmentation. This study addresses the consequences/results of extreme neoliberal urbanization in relation to the city’s middle classes as the putative beneficiaries of these urban developments. The mall functions as an object of study that is constituted as a spatial-material epitome of neoliberal values.
Exploring the mall-realities of the upper middle classes – advertised as the target group for the mall – and their practices of distinction in spatial proximity to others reveals deep-rooted connections between class and race discriminations in this urban society. These are displayed in the narratives and practices of the upper middle classes in the mall as they seek to maintain social status in a context of increasing social and economic precarity.
The thesis further displays historic continuities of urban functions that can be related to the mall, underscoring the importance of considering the specific local and social peculiarities and possible repercussions of the implementations of these urban projects, especially in a postcolonial context. Through this, this study also centrally questions the often-heard phrase that Mexico is classist rather than racist by paying attention to the social disparities in(side) the middle classes.
In this study, social and economic inequality – though there is undoubtedly a relation – do not necessarily describe the same thing, as is often assumed in studies on the middle classes. On a macro scale, the relation between social and economic factors is an interesting indicator for social mobility in the context of neoliberal urbanization in colonized countries. It shows that social status can be negotiated separately from financial status by the dominant groups, revealing their own precarity and vehemently contradicting the promises of neoliberal free-market ideology. It displays the precarity of progress, with progress as the central notion of this ideology, and reveals how the chance to upward social mobility is not equally available to all actors.
(2024) Dismantling the ethnographer’s house: on Mexican middle classes and shopping malls, in “Rethinking the Meaning of Class in Ethnographic Research Practice”, Kulturanthropologie Notizen, Bd. 86.
(2021) Klassismus in Mexiko, in Revista - Noticias, September 2021.
(2021) Brasilien auf dem Weg zu neuer Schönheit, in Für Vielfalt - Zeitschrift für Menschen - und Minderheitsrechte, n. 322.
(2019) (Co-editor together with Hernández Suárez, Moszczynska et al.) Giros espacio-temporales: Repensando los entrelazamientos globales desde América Latina. Edición Tranvía, Berlin.
(2019) Theory of the athleisure class – On sportswear and the displaying of distinction in a Mexican mall, in: Hernández Suárez, Diana Marisol et al. (eds.), Giros espacio-temporales: Repensando los entrelazamientos globales desde América Latina, Edición Tranvía, Berlin , pp. 79-102.
(2015) Of food courts and other demons: shopping malls in Mexico as new centers for urban life, in: Revista Iluminuras v. 16, n. 37, p. 32-43.