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From the Little Tree, Half a Block Toward the Lake: Popular Geography and Symbolic Discontent in Post-Sandinista Managua

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The inhabitants of Managua, Nicaragua have a sophisticated, often bitingly ironic, popular geography that they use to navigate the city. The Nicaraguan capital has been destroyed twice by earthquakes, ravaged by war, left to decay for lack of funds, transformed by the creative destruction of speculative capitalism and subjected to a series of ideological impositions. Few people know the official names of streets, and recent governments have not had the ability to put up signs. So a supple system of popular geography dominates, resisting and ridiculing attempts to impose an official order, and adapting to change while preserving a bottom-up sense of memory, history and place. Drawing on Allan Pred's classic account of popular geography in late nineteenth century Stockholm, I use Managua's language of spatial orientation as a window into peripheral modernity and the politics of everyday life.
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Keywords: Allan Pred; Managua; modernity; popular geography; resistance

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Geography, Planning and Environment, Concordia University, Canada;, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 2010-03-01

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