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

Javier Velasco


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. 


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

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/bsj.2022.277


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