Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Program

Hispanic Studies

Supervisor

Alena Robin

Abstract

This work examines the changes in the Venezuelan city of Caracas during the Bolivarian Revolution during the years 1999 through 2013, under the rule of Hugo Chavez Frias (1954-2013). Stressed by a profound polarization (commonly interpreted as political), this period brought aesthetic and spatial changes, which have affected the life and perception of the city. From a neo-populist discourse inspired by the idea of the establishment of the republic under a socialist model, the Bolivarian Revolution has stripped issues that affect the sense and urban rooting such as identity, racial segregation or class struggle in addition to political differences. Reflecting on changes occurred in the urban space and the study of the production of art, it is proposed that the social and political polarizations, linked to problems rooted in the culture of Venezuelans, have defined Caracas’s landscape to a larger extent than any architectural or urban intervention made during this period. Through a semiotic approach, these and other issues such as new urban imaginaries, intolerance, fear of violence and a new conception of private property, are problematized to argue that according to the notions of the “signifying practice,” and “satisfaction of desire,” proposed by Julia Kristeva from literature and psychoanalysis, Caracas has been redefined in several ways, which are collected and analyzed in this work.


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