Barrio

At its most basic level, “barrio” refers to a place—a neighborhood, community, enclave, and/or region— that is familiar to many and evokes a range of affective responses. Unlike the term colonia, which  conjures ideas of semi-rural spatial formations, barrios are often imagined as decidedly urban spaces—as dense enclaves, which are familiar features of American cities (Sánchez Korrol 1994; D. Diaz 2005; Vigil 2008; Ward 2010). They are places born out of histories of segregation, uneven development, conflict, and  marginalization;  but  they are also the precious spaces that affirm cultural identities, nurture popular cultural production, and provide sanctuary for people with long histories of displacement, land loss, repression, and collective  struggle. In  this way, barrios share a great deal in common with African American ghettos. According to Diego Vigil, both spaces derived from people’s experiences of having to “settle in inferior places that were spatially separate and socially distanced from …

This essay may be found on page 18 of the printed volume.

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