Urban Mobility and "Geometries of Power": The Urban Streetcar in La Paz at the Beginning of the 20th Century


  • Javier Velasco University of Oregon




Criollo-mestizo elites, power-geometries, space, streetcar, urban mobility, urban modernity


The historical development of the electric trolley in La Paz is connected to the process of modernization and urban expansion carried out by the liberal criollo-mestizo elites in the early 20th century. The archival documentation shows the trolley as part of the development of the city's modern transportation system, but also as a technology connected to the social development of groups in conflict for the material and symbolic control of urban space. Drawing on Doreen Massey's analysis of "power-geometries," the article argues that the trolley was functional in the constitution of social subjectivities shaping people’s understanding and experience of public space, and it was part of a mobility and access policy in the idea that mobility and control of mobility reflect and reinforce power relations.